How people are helping
Here are some examples of how people in your community are making a difference.
Nebraska 8th grader Isabella Nuss received a Fremont Area Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy grant to create homeless helper kits through Care Corps Inc. Hy-Vee partnered with Isabella and her classmates to pack 100 kits full of everyday essentials, giving students a unique perspective on homelessness in their community. Plus, they learned what we can do when we join together to help others.
When COVID-19 struck last spring, Jenn and Brian Wolfe knew friends and family would be in lockdown for a while and decided to help their son McKane, who has autism, lift their spirits. “We started planning weekly door dashes, making baskets and gathering supplies,” Jenn says. “It was a great way for McKane to put things together for people and have some safe fun while doing it.” Brian, who has worked for Hy-Vee for over 30 years, helped get supplies, while Dee Olson of Tweedle Dee’s Gift Shop in Ankeny, Iowa added decorating ideas. McKane did more than 30 of these surprise deliveries, Jenn says.
Cynthia Kreps has gone the extra mile more than once. At first she delivered meals around town, then donated blood and passed along her stimulus checks to food banks, missions and kitchens in Lincoln, Nebraska. Knowing the pandemic was tough on restaurants, she ordered takeout from local restaurants and gave a break to renters who worked in the restaurant industry. All this while she taught community college classes from home. “What I did was nothing compared to health care providers,” she says.
Kits for the homeless
Meals and more
of all food banks, food pantries and meal programs in the U.S. rely solely on volunteers
Simple acts of kindness
There’s an ongoing need for volunteers—and it doesn’t have to mean a huge commitment.
Because the pandemic has led to job losses, more people than ever rely on food donations. That’s one reason Hy-Vee has teamed up with Feeding America, a hunger relief organization, to combat food insecurity. Feeding America needs volunteers to help sort, pack and distribute food. You also can donate shelf-stable pantry items or fresh produce from your own garden.
Loneliness, isolation and despair are also more prevalent due to the pandemic. Contact a volunteer organization such as United Way or VolunteerMatch if you want to help.
Inquire with local faith communities or service organizations whether they know of anyone struggling who might need help with things like yard work, running errands or picking up groceries.
With the help of food suppliers, Hy-Vee recently donated nearly 1 million pounds of food to 17 Feeding America- affiliated food banks across the Midwest.
Hy-Vee also donated more than $250,000 in food to the effort as part of its mission to combat food insecurity.
Being around nature reduces stress, according to the University of Minnesota, and makes people feel better emotionally. A houseplant or bouquet from Hy-Vee Floral will surely raise anyone’s spirits. Or give a garden-starter kit complete with container, potting mix and plants. Another option: Mail a packet of flower seeds with a note explaining the significance of the flowers. For example, you might write, “These cheerful marigolds remind me of better days to come.”
Know someone with a pet in the house? A gift basket filled with treats, chew toys and other toys will warm their heart. Add a note with a cute story about their pet or a reminder of what joy animals bring to people.
In stressful times, a phone call or text message might be all someone needs to lift their spirits. But imagine the mood-boosting power of a care package tailored specifically to them.
• Stress Buster basket of Basin personal care products, a scented candle, chocolates and wine.
• Healing basket with an inspirational book, devotional candle and immune-boosting fruits, vitamins
Every time-pressed parent appreciates when dinner preparation is taken off their menu of tasks—at least for one night. Treat a family with a Take-and-Bake entrée from Hy-Vee. While you’re at it, throw in some popcorn and candy in case they decide to stream a movie later on.
Dinner and a movie
Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money—we can also give our time, ideas and energy.
—Action for Happiness
Next time you’re headed to Hy-Vee, check in with an elderly neighbor or someone else who might not be able to get out often for groceries. Offer to pick up a few necessities and drop them off at their door on your way home.
Deliver the goods
COVID-19 can take a toll on children, especially when they’re not seeing friends as much as they’d like. Give a family dealing with bored kids an activity kit filled with age-appropriate items such as coloring and activity books, sidewalk chalk, puzzles and board games.
Care for kids
A home-cooked meal is always appreciated, whether it’s for someone you know (an elderly neighbor perhaps) or someone in need (your local faith community or service organization should know of a deserving person or family). Another idea: Print out a family recipe and a note about why it’s special to you. Take the note, recipe and all the required ingredients to a person who needs a boost to their spirits.
One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.
—Shannon L. Alder,
author and therapist
And other ways to help out struggling neighbors and friends
Learn how to make a Floral Door Hanger with this step-by-step guide!