March Values in Action Challenge
Build Community: Reaching out Amid COVID-19 Concerns

American Values Investments is sponsoring a Values in Action challenge. The goal is to help Americans exercise their values for a brighter America. By preserving our values we can preserve our future.

This quarter we are examining the importance of building community and why vital communities are important to our democracy and to our individual freedoms. The remaining three quarters will focus on the three key American values of caring, courage and integrity.

Our January challenge was to do an act of goodwill to build community in your neighborhood. In February our challenge was to invest in mentoring others.

This month’s challenge was to have been encouraging all of us to open our homes. And with spring dawning, it would have been a perfect time to emerge from our winter hibernation and entertain. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantines, we will have to delay opening our homes. But there are many other ways we can, and should, reach out to others, especially during this challenging season.

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People in your community need you.

With many quarantined in homes, people need to feel connected to others even more. Reports out of Italy of people being forced to mourn the death of their loved ones alone are heartbreaking. And many of the most vulnerable, the elderly and those with medical conditions, are shut in unwilling to even go to the grocery store or pharmacy. Let’s not leave anyone emotionally alone and isolated during this troubling time.

Helping the Vulnerable

If you are at low risk, it is important that you still take precautions so that you do not become a silent carrier and unknowingly infect the vulnerable you are serving.

But there are relatively low risk ways to help.

  • Call, Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, or Hangout
    Let them hear a friendly voice, or even better, see your smiling face. Let them know someone is thinking of them. Laugh, reminiscence, or get to know each other better. With all the downtime, this is an excellent opportunity to develop and deepen relationships. And everyone should have plenty of time to talk. Don’t forget to include acquaintances you may not know well. You don’t know if they have anyone in their life to reach out to them.
  • Offer Assistance
    Some elderly may not be familiar with online ordering and same-day deliveries. Offer to order food, necessities or medicine to be delivered to their porch. If you must run an essential errand yourself, take care to prevent exposure. Also take care in handling items during selection from the shelf, bagging, and delivery. You may want to use self-checkout if available to reduce the amount of handling. A creative idea is to place the items in a cooler on the porch and wipe down the outside of the cooler with disinfectant wipes when you have finished.
  • Help with Yardwork and Take out Trash Cans
    If you do yardwork, try to use your own tools, and if you handle their trash cans, be sure to wipe the handles down well with disinfectant.

Encouraging Essential Workers

  • Send them a “thank you” card.
  • They may have limited time for shopping. Order some necessities and a few fun surprises to be delivered to their homes.
  • Offer to run any essential errands. Again, taking care to avoid exposure and to ensure everything is properly sanitized.
  • Send a humorous text, message, or Facebook post to cheer them up.
  • Order a small package of fun surprises, personal necessities, and snacks for a workplace and send the package to the place of employment if appropriate.

Reaching out to Your Community

We must take the CDC’s admonishment to social distance seriously. But let’s not make that a reason to not reach out to one another.

Here are some tips to reach out to your community while social distancing.

  • Get Connected
    Get your neighbors to sign up with Nextdoor or create a private and closed Facebook group.
  • Check-in with Each Other
    As with reaching out the vulnerable, call or video call your neighbors. Get to know them better and make sure everyone is doing well. Take this opportunity to ask questions, listen, and get to know your neighbors better.
  • Engage in Shared Worship
    Most churches have moved their worship services online. Those of us who live with families or roommates can worship together in our homes. But widows, singles, and others who live by themselves will be worshiping in isolation. You can provide community to those who are isolated by inviting them to virtually worship with your family. Using the numerous video conference solutions such as Skype and Google Hangouts can allow you to worship together. Share your screen and place everyone on speaker so you can sing together, pray together and share your hearts with each other.
  • Get Outside
    Take a walk while ensuring a social distance of 6 feet from others. But get some fresh air and who knows, you may see some neighbors out and about. Stop and take the time to talk to them. If you live near neighbors in a condominium or apartment complex, follow the example of the Italians and start a sing along. Perhaps a heart-felt rendition of God Bless America would lift spirits. If you have talent, why not share that from the safety of your front porch, window, or balcony?
  • Start a Group Chat
    Start a group chat using your cell phone chat service, WhatsApp, or GroupMe. Catch up on each other’s lives, learn about each other with fun Q&As, or just share funny memes.
  • Start a Virtual Book or Movie Club
  • Share Virtual Meals
    Set up a Zoom room or other conferencing tool and meet virtually for coffee or tea. Or, take turns performing virtual cooking demonstrations and sharing favorite recipes.

We hope you take the challenge to reach out to others during this crisis. Check back in the future to learn more about our Open Home Challenge.

Opening one’s home is one of the best ways to show gracious hospitality and it does not need to be intimidating, costly, or time consuming. And you don’t need a large home or trendy décor. Pizza and paper plates in the backyard is always an option. No backyard? You can offer ice cream on the front lawn. So everyone can love others in this manner.

As this crisis lifts, we will share tips on how easy and affordable it can be for everyone to open their homes. For now, join us in being a difference maker and reach out to the vulnerable, those on the front line, and your neighbors.

Take the challenge and reach out.

We would love to hear how things go. Please share your results with us at

Take the 2020 Values in Action Challenge

As a patriotic American, are you up for the challenge? Will you be the change – and hope – agent that our nation needs? By putting your values in action in small ways, you can make a big difference. You will receive a monthly challenge in one of four areas: building community, caring, courage, and personal integrity.

Yes, I am Up for the Challenge! Start Now.

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