How Do I Help?

We hope that you and your family are safe and well during our current virus outbreak. If you have health concerns you can access resources near you.

There are many ways that you can get involved as people in your region cope with issues related to the coronavirus outbreak. While we could list many more ways to be engaged, here are a few.

A great start is to review local businesses that have listed their services at RegionAhead.com. Also, if you know a small business owner who would like to list his or their business on the site, let them know that they can do so at the site.

Choose local or small businesses first when you are ordering or purchasing items for you and your family. Every small business is being challenged by the virus and they could use your support.

If you can’t directly visit their store or office during the outbreak, call or email them and ask if you can “pay it forward” on things like haircuts, dry cleaning, or other services. Ask if they offer gift cards so that you can access those services when closures or social distancing requirements end.

Show your community pride. Buy a “Never Shutdown Happiness” t-shirt from BoomTown. Your $20 purchase will go directly to a non-profit that supports our local downtown Johnson City and Kingsport businesses.

Now is a great time to do fix up jobs and gardening around your home. If you are doing it yourself, purchase your supplies from a local or regional small business. If you don’t want to get out, ask if they will deliver. If you want to have the service performed for you, be sure to first check with a local business for services offered.

A great start is to review local business that have listed their services at RegionAhead.com. Also, if you know a small business owner who would like to list his or their business on the site, let them know that they can do so at the site.

If you know a small business owner in need of financial assistance, there are numerous resources available at RegionAhead.com. There are also Federal tax credits available for businesses with less than 500 workers to assist them and their employees during the crisis.
Did you know there are more than 20,000 people in the 8 counties of the Northeast Tennessee region who work in the leisure and hospitality industries? Many are now jobless, and restaurants that remain open are struggling to adjust to the new reality of serving customers.

What can you do?

Resolve that you and your family will order food from a local or regional restaurant at least 3 times a week. Whether you go through a drive-thru, or order curbside pick-up or delivery, your support is important. When the server delivers your food, double or triple-tip them for their hard work.

Ask if your local restaurant offers gift cards or gift certificates. If they do, buy some now and gift the cards to someone that you know that is currently out of work due to the virus—they need your support as well.

Help our healthcare, police, fire, and EMS heroes while helping a local restaurant by calling your hero group and asking if you could pay for a catered meal from a restaurant. Find a good date and time from your hero, then select a restaurant and order their meal. What a great way to feed hungry heroes and help our local or regional restaurants survive!

Choose from some great food options online or on a listing of those who have registered at RegionAhead.com.
Celebrate them with art. You, your children, or your grandchildren can spend time making thank you cards for healthcare heroes. It’s a great way for children to really show their stuff using their coloring and design talents! While right now it might not be a great time to mail these cards to a hospital or clinic, you can share photos of the thank you cards to a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office Facebook page. This will allow everyone to see it and bring kindness into focus!

Make masks. Healthcare workers need masks to protect themselves. Although N95 masks are recommended, they aren’t always available. If you’re handy with a sewing machine or even hand stitching, consider making masks to help healthcare workers. This effort is already being pursued by a woman in Greeneville, Tennessee with masks for patients. Why not join in the effort?

Help make wearing masks easier. Support Earsavers Project They are a group of volunteers in the Tri Cities who 3d print devices to reduce ear strain of medical personnel who have to wear masks for 8-12 hours at a time. They distribute these ear savers for free to multiple hospitals and doctors offices in the region.

Feed them. Doctors and nurses get hungry, too. Call the hospital and ask if you can order some food to be delivered there from a local restaurant? In doing this you’ll provide doctors and nurses with sustenance to keep fueling them as they help the sick, as well as support a local restaurant.

Show kindness. Have a neighbor or friend who is a healthcare worker? Send them a brief text, e-mail, or message on social media to express your appreciation for their hard work. Be considerate of their time, because they are busy and tired.
Did you know that up to 44,000 workers in the retail trade or leisure and restaurant industry in the 8 counties of Northeast Tennessee have likely been impacted by the virus in the last few weeks? Some are laid off. Others have had their hours cut back until the virus outbreak is finished. If they have children or older people who require care, and those services are not available, they may also be impacted in their ability to find or maintain an income. If you have a friend who has been impacted, contact them and ask how you can help.

Here is some additional information that might be helpful if you or someone you know needs support:

If the person is low income and relies on assistance from schools to give their children a nutritious meal, you can visit RegionAhead.com and find school closure feeding sites in the region.

If you are in search of a job, several retailers have jobs available in our region, including Food City. Additional jobs that have been listed online can be accessed here.
Are you ready to volunteer to help non-profits and other organizations during the COVID-19 crisis? Many can use your help.

A great start is to contact the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. You can donate food or make a monetary donation to feed those in need.

If you would like to submit your name as a volunteer for other organizations, sign up at RegionAhead.com.
This region is blessed with many options for life enrichment through the arts. Below are some links to many of them. Go to each to discover how you can help them during the crisis.

Barter Theater, Abingdon, VA
Birthplace Of Country Music, Bristol, VA
Clinchfield Railroad Museum, Erwin, TN
Hands On Discovery Center, Gray, TN
Paramount Bristol, Bristol, TN
Reece Museum, Johnson City, TN
WETS-FM, Johnson City, TN
William King Museum Of Art, Abingdon, VA

As for other local attractions and tourism organizations, start your journey here:
Northeast Tennessee Tourism Alliance
Parents, and grandparents, are reconnecting with their children and grandchildren like never before and that is a really good thing. It is an opportunity to create great memories for a child for life. Likewise, discussions about the coronavirus can create fear and confusion. School being dismissed and, for older children, missing out on social occasions leading toward the end of a school year can be very emotional—especially if they can’t hang out with their friends.

Here are some assets and activities that can help parents and teach kids about character building and how to be kind to others.

Explain what is happening. It can be a troubling issue when explaining something as complex as the virus outbreak. Here is some good advice on how to handle the issue.

PBS for Parents has some great advice on age-appropriate discussions regarding emotions and self-awareness. Take a look. You might find some great information.

Give them something fun to do. How about a special sound track from Pandora made just for kids? Now is also a great time to get outdoors and reconnect with nature on a hike or walk. You can also learn more about crafts your kids can do to feel empowered to help during this outbreak under the “How do I support healthcare workers?” section of this page.
While kindness to others is our goal, you have got to also be kind to yourself. Here are some ideas for relieving stress and enriching your life.

Visit some of the world’s greatest museums—virtually
The Louvre, Paris
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Guggenheim Museum, New York, N.Y.

Turn on to some special tracks. Try these curated tunes from Pandora.

Workout Hits
Chill Out
Sound Meditation
Music To Clean By
Yoga Workout
Today’s Hits

Take care of your mental health. There are many free meditation and mindfulness apps available for Apple and Android users, as well as several podcasts on the subject.

Need to speak with someone about what you’re experiencing? You can also check to see if any local therapists are offering virtual sessions, or explore a national option like Talkspace.
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