A new study conducted by the CDC staff for Pediatrics has found that more than 140,000 children have lost their parent or grandparent caregiver due to COVID-19 over the past year. That number is disproportionally high for minority children. Sixty-five percent lost a primary caregiver compared to 35% for white children, even though minorities only make up 35% of the US population.
The loss of parents and caregivers is a traumatic life-event that has long-term negative impacts on children’s mental and physical well-being. This is further compounded by the isolation, depression and reduction in academic test scores impacting many school-age children as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GSS Agents, we can help, even in small ways! While we can’t bring these children’s parents and caregivers back, we can do small acts of kindness to help these children and the people left behind to raise them. Every little bit counts!
Below are some ideas, some of which have a “secret agent mission” component. Because, the M.O. of GSS Agents is to operate in stealth mode, complete our mission of kindness and make our get away without being seen, whenever possible. Some activities we can do are:
Be kind to caregivers of these children, especially when the children are melting down in public
Secretly send or drop off a restaurant gift card to the family
Volunteer with the Foster Care system to temporarily foster an affected child
Create or send food baskets, groceries or care packages to an affected family
Donate to a local food bank
Secretly incentivize and bless a child that makes efforts to keep up their grades in school
Openly or secretly donate school supplies to schools/teachers in low income communities
Tutor a child at a Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or other after school programs or via Zoom
Secretly write letters of encouragement and/or send small gifts to children/families
Ask for donations in lieu of birthday gifts to support a family related charity
Secretly send the money you would spend to celebrate your birthday or other special occasion directly to an affected family
Volunteer your friends or church group to organize a birthday party for one or more of these children
Create an online donation drive on GoFundMe or other platform to raise money to assist affected family
Secretly donate a gas card to the family
Hire a housekeeper to clean the family’s house during a time of crisis by writing a note to the family to introduce the housecleaner
Offer to help with school-related needs: transportation, sports events, tutoring, and special projects.
Offer to baby-sit or pay for babysitting so caregivers can have a break
Secretly mow the lawn, shovel snow, or do yard work for the family while they are away (or you can hire someone to do it!)
At work, work with affected employees or co-workers to manage workload in times of added stress
If you are a manager, allow for flexibility in affected employees work schedule where possible
Many of us have experienced similar loss during the pandemic, and if not, it could easily have happened to us. So, let’s do our best to do whatever we can do to make a difference in the lives of these children and families who have been devastated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.