To quote High School Musical, we're all in this together. And it's heartening to see so many community-driven initiatives that aim to help us all get through the chaos coronavirus has caused. We can start by taking care of the most vulnerable among us – the elderly, people with underlying health conditions and those in need – as well as those whose jobs have been most affected by the pandemic. Here's how you can help, even if you don't have time or money to donate, we all can play a small part.
Unless you're cooped up at home all day ordering delivery, you don't know exactly how many people you have come in close contact with – be it on the MRT, at hawker centres or just walking around town. Help make contact tracing easier by downloading TraceTogether, an application that uses Bluetooth to identify other nearby phones that also have the app installed. If you contract Covid-19, or if someone you've interacted with gets the virus, the information on the app can be used to identify and notify the relevant parties.
For those with concerns about privacy, the app does not track your location and the data will not be accessed unless you have been identified as a close contact. Your mobile number is also protected and paired with a random ID that's exchanged between phones.
Seems like common sense, but let's buy only what we need to make sure that there's enough for everyone. Supermarkets like FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant and Jason’s have also announced that they're introducing reserved shopping hours for the elderly and other ‘vulnerable segments’ in the community. This includes people with disabilities and pregnant women so that they have access to the things they need.
FairPrice begins its Priority Shopping Hour trial on Monday, March 30 – it's a weekly session – from 7am to 8am. Cold Storage, Giant and Jasons are holding special shopping hours every Tuesday and Wednesday in the first hour of each store's operating hours, or from 8am to 9am for 24-hour stores. Spread the word!
A group of volunteers are compiling a list of local businesses that need your help to get through Covid-19. The website called chopeandsave.com links you directly to food and beverage operators or retail shops that offer gift cards, allowing you to support them during this period by providing immediate cash. You can then choose to use the gift cards at your leisure. Some local businesses listed include BooksActually, Cat Socrates, Tanuki Raw as well as Salted and Hung.
If you're a business with gift cards, get listed on the website by reaching out to them here.
Don't have gift cards? The good people at Chope and Save have created a guide on how you can go about creating them.
Being a freelancer is hard enough, but the current situation has made it even tougher for creatives. I Lost My Gig is a website that collects data from freelancers from the creative industry who have been affected. It is said that at the time of reporting, the current total sum lost by freelancers comes in at $24,106,255.
The website also lists down resources for freelancers to get support like guilds, societies and associations. On Facebook, a support group was set up for professionals and freelancers in the industry impacted by Covid-19. It is a space where members can share tips, job postings, advice on how to survive these hard times. If you have any gigs available for freelancers, reach out and let them know.
When Malaysia went on lockdown on March 18, Malaysians working in Singapore had to choose between staying home to take care of their families (and possibly losing their jobs) or staying in Singapore without housing. Better.sg has compiled ways we can help our neighbours who are now separated from their families and sleeping rough in Singapore. This includes listing out organisations that are providing them with a home away from home and other essential supplies.
If you wish to make a direct contribution, visit giving.sg/mwaf.
Having a meal with friends is a privilege we have to put on hold for safety and health but we don't have to break the circuit when it comes to enjoying meals – and making sure others enjoy it too.
MyTreat is an initiative started by food writer Annette Tan and PR professional Lyla Lin (who's also at the forefront of the #SaveF&BSG movement). The premise is simple – treat someone to a meal from one of the participating restaurants and get it delivered to their doorstep. Not only are you doing some good by brightening up someone's day in these tough times, you're also supporting the F&B industry, which is facing challenges with the new restrictions and rules.
Charity organisation Ray of Hope has also started a campaign to provide meals for needy elderly people living in rental estates. Most of them live alone and don't have children to visit them. $3 covers one meal for a person and the team are hoping to cover both lunch and dinner.
Recently the welfare and living conditions of the migrant community in Singapore have come to light because clusters of workers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Overcrowding and hygiene is a major concern in dormitories and many independent and advocacy groups have come together to offer help. Migrant workers deserve fair treatment too and we need to start improving their welfare. You can go through the list to see who to contact and how you can help directly.
With everyone coming together to limit the impact of Covid-19, #SGunited pools all the community-led initiatives during this period in one place. Check out programmes to help foreign workers and taxi drivers, uplifting stories from the community and resources for people who want to donate and volunteer. We can all do our part to fight this together and no effort is too small.