Social distancing doesn’t mean we’re completely limited in the ways we can help others.

Here are four ways you can help out and stay active during this pandemic: 

1. Donate blood. If you’ve never done it before, I understand how it may feel intimidating. I’ve given well over 100 units at this point, and you get used to it after a while. It’s also beneficial for a man’s health to have their body go through the process of replacing blood, so for all you males out there, considering giving up a pint.

At the donation center in Kalispell, like every other center in the nation, precautions are being taken; everyone is screened before entry for symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature, etc.) and everything is rigorously sanitized. There are urgent calls for more blood, so make an appointment to give through the Red Cross. Some of you have incredibly rare blood types, making it all the more impactful when you donate. 

2. Support local restaurants. One word describes Bigfork eateries, and that’s ‘struggle.’ I’m sure that’s the case nationwide now, as most are open only for takeout or delivery. Pick a day or two to order takeout or home delivery because our little bit of support can help mitigate their operation costs. We want our local business owners and employees to still be there when this pandemic ends. Speaking of delivery, there may be someone you know who isn’t as able as you are to venture out for food/supplies, so order a nice meal for them or safely stop by with takeout yourself.

There are urgent calls for more blood, so make an appointment to give through the Red Cross.

3. Plant a garden. Whether it’s in your yard or in pots, grow a garden full of vegetables that mature rather quickly, so that you and others in your community can enjoy an early harvest of, say, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. Not only is it a legitimate food source, but it’s also a soul-soother; seeing vegetables ripen in a lovely spring garden can symbolize hope for many people in the community. 

4. Check in with friends and family. I recently participated in a 1,600-person video conference call (of course, not nearly that many faces were visible), and it made me think about all of the various ways we can stay in touch. Isolation can have damaging effects on people’s minds, so lift spirits with a call. If you have an Apple device, you can FaceTime with up to 32 people; if you visit, a free video-conferencing platform with paid upgrades available, you can set up a meeting time with others and hop right into a conversation. 

You and a group of other people can create a routine (e.g., meet every Wednesday at 4 p.m.), or you can be more spontaneous and send friends a message like, “Hey, let’s hop on a call tomorrow at 12 p.m., sound good?” 

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. Enjoy my outro scene (7:34 in the video above): Geese coming home for spring. If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always here to help.