Rotarians provide ideas on how you can help others during pandemic

By David Simmer
District 5495 Governor

Rotarians are “People of Action,” and Rotary clubs and their members throughout Arizona are pitching in to help where needed in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

For our neighbors and fellow citizens also looking for ways and ideas to help those most vulnerable during this crisis, below are some simple – yet constructive – ways to help your communities. These suggestions are from Arizona Rotary clubs and many are already being put into practice.

  • Sew masks (personal protective equipment) for our medical professionals.  These are back-up masks should the professional masks not be available.  Said to be up to 95% effective if made to specifications.  Also good for friends and neighbors to help protect them.  See a video of instruction on making the masks and retrieve a pattern at
  • Order take-out from restaurants during this time as they could use the business and this helps them keep workers employed.
  • Buy gift certificates from restaurants and businesses to give them cash flow at this difficult time.  Let them know that you want to make sure they survive this difficult period.
  • Provide extra funds or funds not being used for meals from your Rotary Club or other service organization to food banks.
  • Provide “tip” funds to restaurants for wait and restaurant staff to help them continue to support their staff.
  • If you can purchase items in high demand or perhaps a take-out meal, buy an extra one and leave them at the door of a neighbor, then text them or call them to let them know that you have left something at the door for them.
  • And look out for those who have gone to the grocery, but seem uncomfortable going in.  Perhaps you can take their list and shop for them.
  • Call neighbors before going to the grocery store to see if you can pick up anything for them.  The fewer of us that are circulating right now, the better for all of us.
  • Stay in touch through FaceTime, Video Call, Phone call, text to neighbors and particularly elder friends. The video conversations do deliver more of a feeling of connection, so use them if you feel comfortable.
  • Many of clubs have created a Rotary Call Chain – where very Rotarian calls at least three other Rotarians each week. Citizens can create a similar call chain to apply to their local organization, house of worship or other group they may be affiliated with.
  • Make a special effort to call those who you know have compromised immune systems frequently to see if there is anything that you can do to help them during this difficult period.
  • Leave thank-you notes (and if you feel comfortable — a tip) to home delivery folks like food delivery, UPS, Federal Express, USPS.  These folks are our lifeline and we need to show them that we value what they are doing to help everyone at this time.
  • If you are in a low-risk category and can follow the prescribed protocol, volunteer to deliver for the local Meals on Wheels.
  • Think collaborations with others in the community: restaurants, health care professionals, hospice, elder care services, children’s food backpack programs and more.

Editor’s note: David Simmer is the current District Governor for Rotary District 5495, which includes most of the central and northern Arizona Rotary clubs. Visit the district website for additional information.

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