It has been proven time and again that volunteering makes you happier. In fact, doing good for others improves your health. During these especially trying times, it’s vital that we continue to support our local community through volunteerism. And if doing good can possibly help alleviate stress, all the more reason to seek out new opportunities to serve. Here are five ways to start making a positive impact right now.

1. Shop for Homebound Neighbors

Have you got some unexpected spare time on your hands? Instead of vegging out in front of the television, take a few hours to do some much-needed shopping for your neighbors who aren’t able to get out of their home. Give those neighbors a call for their shopping list and head out to the grocery store. Conserve time and fuel and schedule shopping for multiple people.

2. Volunteer at a Food Bank

Lines are getting longer and longer at soup kitchens and food banks as more unemployed people are being forced to seek additional help to feed their families. Those charities are in desperate need of volunteers to stock pantry shelves, build food boxes, and even collect food. If you fully observe all CDC guidelines, you can safely volunteer in those facilities.

3. Host a Food Drive

If you aren’t able to serve in person at a food bank, host a food drive within your community. Post flyers and send out messages with a specific pickup date. People can set their nonperishable food outside their doors to limit personal contact. Gather up those donations and drop them off at your favorite food bank.

4. Donate Blood

The need for blood donation is constant, especially in times of crisis. Right now, the need to maintain and replenish valuable blood and blood platelet supplies is a major concern. If you are physically able, consider making a donation. Here is a listing for upcoming blood drives in the area.

5. Be an Example of Social Distancing

The best thing you can do for your community is to take care of yourself and protect the health of others. Follow your state and community guidelines, stay indoors, limit time in public places, avoid large crowds, and use delivery services when possible.

These are scary times, indeed. But it’s during these moments that we realize we can help support our local communities right now. As US Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH says, “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” We can work together to protect each other and support our local communities.