Doing Good: On Being a Philanthropist in a Pandemic

The world is under the evil thumb or iron foot of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, Novel Corona Virus 2019/COVID-19. Its repercussions are innumerable, both affirmatively and unfavourably. Consequently, all citizens of every country are called upon to be philanthropic, particularly within the harsh economic space of many developing countries. It is, therefore, the distinctive season to adopt the vision and conviction of Maya Angelou to do good as she asserts, “I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” It is incumbent on each of us whose health is untouched by the virus to seek avenues of humanitarianism where we can walk around in other people’s skin and so help them. Useful assistance could include such means as focusing on assisting children in their educational pursuit; ensuring regular communication with the elderly who are mostly house-bound; and initiating and maintaining a support group for medical and public health personnel in my parish.

The multidimensional adverse effects of the COVID-19 have discombobulated the lives of all children, especially those who low-level income families. Added to the general hardships, many children have had to stay home. In Jamaica schools were out for seven (7) months until the official opening on October 5, 2020. Uncertainty pervades the system with the last-minute official decision to teach all children online. Homeschooling and Internet dependence have wrought havoc on the system for both educators and students. The generous compassionate community can supply technological devices, supply food to families and source counselors to ensure the emotional stability of parents and children in their homes. Island-wide, in Jamaica the need for broadband internet, computers, smartphones, and digital literacy is grave and imperative.

The home-school order has exposed a critical and tear-jerking reality: two-thirds of Jamaicans do not have access to the Internet, devices, and the skills and finances to obtain these necessities at home. As a talk-show host has put it, COVID has exposed the raw reality of the inequities in the Jamaican education system. We can be benevolent by networking with large corporate citizens to supply cash and devices to ensure that each child has a working laptop, tablet, or smart telephone. The Private Sector Organizations of Jamaica (PSOJ) would be happy for our donations to their PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund.  So too, the Nationwide News Network (NNN) with its computer drive to assist every child to have a computer. Consequently, there are open avenues for citizens to activate the philanthropy in them for the academic growth of Jamaica’s children.

The world is under the evil thumb or iron foot of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, Novel Corona Virus 2019/COVID-19. Its repercussions are innumerable, both affirmatively and unfavourably. Consequently, all citizens of every country are called upon to be philanthropic, particularly within the harsh economic space of many developing countries. It is, therefore, the distinctive season to adopt the vision and conviction of Maya Angelou to do good as she asserts, “I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” It is incumbent on each of us whose health is untouched by the virus to seek avenues of humanitarianism where we can walk around in other people’s skin and so help them. Useful assistance could include such means as focusing on assisting children in their educational pursuit; ensuring regular communication with the elderly who are mostly house-bound; and initiating and maintaining a support group for medical and public health personnel in my parish.

The multidimensional adverse effects of the COVID-19 have discombobulated the lives of all children, especially those who low-level income families. Added to the general hardships, many children have had to stay home. In Jamaica, schools were out for seven (7) months until the official opening on October 5, 2020. Uncertainty pervades the system with the last-minute official decision to teach all children online. Homeschooling and Internet dependence have wrought havoc on the system for both educators and students. The generous compassionate community can supply technological devices, supply food to families and source counselors to ensure the emotional stability of parents and children in their homes. Island-wide, in Jamaica the need for broadband internet, computers, smartphones, and digital literacy is grave and imperative.

The home-school order has exposed a critical and tear-jerking reality: two-thirds of Jamaicans do not have access to the Internet, devices, and the skills and finances to obtain these necessities at home. As a talk-show host has put it, COVID has exposed the raw reality of the inequities in the Jamaican education system. We can be benevolent by networking with large corporate citizens to supply cash and devices to ensure that each child has a working laptop, tablet, or smart telephone. The Private Sector Organizations of Jamaica (PSOJ) would be happy for our donations to their PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund.  So too, the Nationwide News Network (NNN) with its computer drive to assist every child to have a computer. Consequently, there are open avenues for citizens to activate the philanthropy in them for the academic growth of Jamaica’s children.

Children need special attention, but the elderly are also at the other end of the vulnerability spectrum. Therefore, I endorse the global philanthropist, Mahatma Gandhi’s assertion that “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”  According to National Law Review Friday, March 27, 2020, “For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic will present ethical and moral dilemmas relative to the health, safety, and well-being of our elderly parents and grandparents, made more vulnerable because of chronic medical conditions and weakened immune systems.” 

Children need special attention, but the elderly are also at the other end of the vulnerability spectrum. Therefore, I endorse the global philanthropist, Mahatma Gandhi’s assertion that “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”  According to National Law Review Friday, March 27, 2020, “For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic will present ethical and moral dilemmas relative to the health, safety, and well-being of our elderly parents and grandparents, made more vulnerable because of chronic medical conditions and weakened immune systems.” 

These quotes support the point for the need to ensure regular communication with the elderly whose specific protocol is to stay home except for emergency essential businesses. There is a panoply of ways for us to communicate with the elderly. These include such activities as a focus group/team to implement a programme for a group of seniors. This covers phone calls in which there are guarded discussions on local and world news. The elderly can do storytelling, jokes, and riddles to entertain and educate the younger, encouraging cultural enrichment. The team can prepare special meals at least once or twice a week, interspersed by virtual teas and tete-a-tetes for the seniors. At all times the safety protocols are to be observed so all “edutaining” activities can be done in chat groups and zoom meetings. We should always be ready to arrange transportation for the seniors from the group to do their businesses monthly and see to their COVID-19 safety. These creative gestures will give the elderly a sense of belonging and of being valued and will increase the release and flow of endorphin and dopamine hormones, resulting in a feeling of pleasure and holistic wellness. In this distressing pandemic season, the vulnerable needs all our love and magnanimity, but so too do the medical caregivers.

Amid the COVID-19 global outbreak, it’s likely to be a time of extreme exhaustion for those who work on the front lines of health care. Now more than ever, it’s important for health systems and health care organizations to create and ensure an infrastructure and resources to support physicians, nurses, and care team members. (https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/caring-our-caregivers-during-covid-19) In Jamaica, it is no less traumatic as many authentic reports substantiate. As a humane community, therefore, we give our all-round support to our medical team – from the floor cleaner to the chief surgeon.  Foremost in our acts of kindness to our medical workers is to avoid getting the virus by our obedience to the anti- COVID-19 virus. We should remain at home as much as possible, avoiding crowds. Another helpful activity is our varied donations to the hospital staff, thereby enhancing their comfort. Contributions of money, food, masks, cleaning supplies, and sanitizers will make for a comfortable working, low-stress environment. Additionally, we can volunteer to run indispensable errands, such as picking up meals from their homes and restaurants. We may also arrange in our help team to cook meals and send them to the hospital. Relieving our medical workers and their family member from driving can be done by us and/or proxy. One exceptional feat can be the organization of blood donation drives in collaboration with the hospitals The Jamaica Observer Online has reported in April 2020 that the Blood Bank of Jamaica is reporting a significant shortage of blood supply across the island, exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19. Some heroic doctors were even donating blood for their patients. (jamaicaobserver.com).  This is a major de-escalator.  All these voluntary acts of kindness will lower the stress level of our medical workers and their support staff, ensuring better health for them, better service to their patients, and the lowering of the spread of the pandemic in Jamaica.

~Erma Bombeck speaks for me by declaring: “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” This is affirmed by the Bible’s admonition: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16); and by Angelou’s quote above: “As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” Doing good by being a philanthropist in a pandemic benefits the donors as well as the beneficiaries of this goodness as we concentrate on being magnanimous in assisting to educate our children; making our elderly remain purposeful; find novel ways to help our medical and public health workers maintain their physical and emotional equilibrium in the healing process of our nation. Again we would be well advised by Maya Angelou in her video, titled, “Just Do Right” (posted below), if we want to achieve the philanthropic status of being benevolent at all times, especially during a pandemic.

 

Keep Uplifted and be Strong with God

Lamentations 3:22-23

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

36 Inspirational Bible Quotes That Will Encourage and Motivate You

We all experience seasons in life that can be discouraging and stressful. Whether you’re dealing with the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or an overall confusion about where life is heading, reading through inspirational Bible verses is an excellent way to lift your spirits and gain a new perspective on a difficult situation. The word of God has a profound way of encouraging its readers to be strong and courageous in the midst of tumultuous circumstances. These inspirational quotes are a great starting point for morning prayers and hope-filled conversations. Use them as an ever-present reminder all things are possible with God, and His mercies are new every morning.