By: Karen Lombardo
Time is such a relative term. Time can pass so quickly when you are having fun, and so slowly when waiting for a change. It has been 194 days since the March 11th announcement and national declaration of the pandemic. Depending on your situation, this time has been challenging. I volunteered to quarantine for two weeks after driving my son to the University of Alabama. Two weeks is a long time, and, in that period, I was the fortunate recipient of many acts of kindness from a late afternoon coffee run to the delivery of much-needed groceries. Do we realize we have a civic duty? The consensus defines civic-minded as “A person interested and cares about what is happening in their community. A person who carries out this concern for the betterment of the community public.” Think about it for just a second and ask yourself, am I a good member of my community? Do I think about others and honestly assess if I could be giving back to build a more vital home and neighborhood for my family and friends? Have I sat down and created a goal for community involvement?
Suppose your answers are predominantly ‘no.’ No worries. We have some thoughts to send you on your way to being civic-minded.
Five civic-minded things you can easily do for your community:
- Register to vote.
The U.S. government has a site and page dedicated to voter information. Visit https://www.usa.gov/election-day to find out more. The rules vary from state to state and are run by the states themselves. Some can vary by county or town within a state. Ironically, no two states are the same. In New York, you can register online at https://www.ny.gov/services/register-vote . The New York State Board of Elections has a webpage to address absentee ballots: https://www.elections.ny.gov/votingabsentee.html . Please use this link to complete the application for a New York Absentee ballot.
- Visit your local farmer’s market.
Cool spring Saturday’s turn into warm summer morning at the local farmer’s market. As summer turns to fall, we visit the local markets a little less, and winter rarely gets us out. Our local farmers continue to provide fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, and spectacular baked goods for any sized family. Continue to support your local farmer’s markets. The USDA keeps a self-reported, searchable database of farmer’s markets that allows people to search by zip code/state, products available, payment accepted, and type of area.
- Support a local nonprofit.
There are numerous nonprofits in the capital region and surrounding counties. The WBC Adopted Nonprofit for 2020 is The Food Pantries for the Capital District. In a spirit of cooperation, The Food Pantries for the Capital District believes we can do more together than any one of us can alone. The Food Pantries is a coalition of more than 65 food pantries in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. The Food Pantries’ vision is to end hunger in the Capital Region. Last year, their member pantries provided approximately 57,853 individuals with enough food for more than 3.2 million meals. Yet with more than 89,000 people (including 27,000 children) affected by food insecurity in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties, there is more work to be done.
- Help a neighbor.
As simple as this sounds, reach out and help a neighbor. The leaves will soon be falling, and some elderly homeowners struggle with the clean-up. Grab a leaf blower or an old-fashioned rake and lend a hand!
- Volunteer for holiday duty.
The nonprofit organizations are hurting. They are stretched to the end with funds and resources. With the holidays quickly approaching, the need will be more significant for food, supplies, and holiday gifts. Donate your time to serve holiday meals, volunteer at a shelter, and of course, donations are always accepted.
How can you help?
Commuting time has been reduced or eliminated, and the absence of an abundance of social engagements affords us some time to investigate being a little more civic-minded. Give a try. Start slowly, and you will be hooked. Supporting your community is inspiring!
Interested in learning more about the Women’s Business Council and volunteer opportunities, E-mail Marna Redding firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!