13 ways to pass the time and give back during the coronavirus pandemic

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There are fun ways to give back while you’re self-isolating. Vincenzo De Bernardo/Shutterstock/Charli D’Amelio/TikTok/Arman Zhenikeyev/Getty Images
  • The best way people can help stop the spread of the coronavirus is to stay home as much as possible, which can become boring pretty quickly.
  • It can also be difficult to know how to help those who are struggling because of the pandemic when you’re self-isolating.
  • But there are plenty of ways to pass the time and give back during the pandemic, like making face masks for healthcare providers, donating blood, or becoming virtual friends with seniors in isolation.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


You can make face masks for healthcare providers.

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A Belgium woman works on a mouth mask, meant to help protect from the spread of COVID-19, on her sewing machine at home. Associated Press

Fabric stores like Joann Fabrics and CottonCandy Fabrics in Connecticut are offering free mask-making kits to customers, allowing them to provide masks that can help protect healthcare providers.

Homemade masks should only be used as a last resort according to the CDC, but medical workers are experiencing a shortage of masks amid the coronavirus, so the handmade options can be a big help.


You can learn Charli D’Amelio’s distance dance.

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Charli D’Amelio is dancing for a cause on TikTok. Charli D’Amelio/TikTok

Charli D’Amelio, who became the most followed creator on Tik Tok this week, is partnering with Procter & Gamble to benefit Feeding America and Matthew 25: Ministries, two charities helping those in need amid the pandemic.

Procter & Gamble will donate money to the organisations on behalf of the first three million people to make a video of themselves doing the dance who tag D’Amelio in it.

You can read more about the challenge here.


If you’re able to donate blood, it’s a great way to help out.

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There’s a blood shortage in the United States. Yoshiyoshi Hirokawa/Getty Images

The United States is experiencing a blood shortage, as tens of thousands of drives had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus.

It’s still safe for healthy Americans to give blood, as donation centres are increasing their already intense cleaning procedures and taking the temperature of anyone who comes to the centres before they enter.

You can find a local donation centre here.


You can clean out your cabinets and donate any food you don’t need.

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A Meals on Wheels volunteer. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is known to be particularly harmful to senior citizens, which is why people 60 and older are being encouraged not to leave their homes.

Services like Meals on Wheels provide the elderly population with meals, and you can donate money, food, or time as a volunteer to help the community.


You can virtually tutor students.

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Kids need tutors amid the pandemic. AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama

Although most schools have moved to remote learning because of the virus, you can still help kids struggling with their education from home.

iCouldBe is a platform that connects students with virtual mentors for one-hour sessions each week. You can find out more about it here.


You can write letters to people living in nursing homes.

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Letters can comfort those in nursing homes. Arman Zhenikeyev/Getty Images

Senior citizens should be self-isolating because of the coronavirus, but many people living in retirement communities are experiencing loneliness.

Letters Of Love collects cards from around the world for people living in senior communities, so you can offer comfort in the form of a written note.

You can learn more about the project here.


Fostering a pet will keep you entertained and help shelters in need.

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It’s a great time to foster a dog. Shutterstock

Shelters are encouraging people to foster animals during the pandemic, as they’re facing a shortage of volunteers.

Plus, animals are known to help combat loneliness that so many will experience as they self-isolate.


Celebrities can read your kids stories for a cause.

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#Savewithstories can keep kids entertained and help those in need. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP and Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams recently launched #savewithstories, an initiative where they read stories on Instagram for kids who are now schooling remotely to watch.

Your kids can enjoy the stories, and you can donate money to Save the Children and No Kid Hungry through the initiative’s landing page. It’s a win-win.


You can order meals for healthcare workers and first responders.

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A medical worker wearing a protective mask and suit treats novel coronavirus patients in Italy. Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters

Food delivery services are still operating in most cities, so you can take advantage of the services by sending food to healthcare workers and first responders on the front line of the battle against COVID-19.

You can contact your local hospital to see what staff might need, or you can contact local restaurants to see which of your favourite food stops are helping hospitals.

It’s a great way to help local businesses, too.


You can train to be a crisis counselor and help those facing mental health issues.

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Crisis counselors are more needed than ever. Flotsam/Shutterstock

Crisis Text Line offers remote support for people facing mental health issues, whether it be because of the coronavirus or anything else.

Counselors are expected to donate four hours per week to the service, and you can get trained for free at home.


If you have neighbours who are first responders or healthcare providers, you can offer to babysit their kids.

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Babysitters can be helpful. Shutterstock

Although staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, first responders and healthcare providers aren’t given the option to do so.

And if they have children, they’re likely struggling to find childcare amid school closures.

You can offer to provide childcare to neighbours in these situations, assuming you’re only leaving your home to go to their house.


There’s a children’s boot design competition raising money for a food drive in Texas.

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Miron Crosby is holding a boot designing competition. Miron Crosby

For aspiring designers, Miron Crosby, a Texas shoe designer, is holding a competition for people to design kids’ boots.

The competition requires a $US10 entry fee, which goes to the North Texas Food Bank.

You can find out more about the competition here.


You can take digital makeup classes to help freelancers maintain their incomes.

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You can help makeup artists by taking online classes. Dmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock

Freelancers in all professions are struggling during the pandemic, but makeup artists, in particular, are having difficulty because their line of work requires them to be close to their clients.

Some artists are offering online tutorials at a low cost, allowing you to support them and learn how to do your makeup.