Rethinking Community Engagement in a Social Distancing World

The past few weeks have been an adjustment for everyone. In CCES we have had to rethink what it means to be engaged in our community when distance is the loudest message about how to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. For an office that loves our community and for students who have built relationships with our neighbors this has been a difficult concept. With PLU moving to distance learning for the rest of the spring semester, we are looking at ways we can engage while also respecting the distance that is called for at this time. In the coming days, we hope to share with you some of the ideas that we have come up with here and actively on social media. If you have any additional ideas for us, we would love to hear from you.

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Supporting the Community

Donate Blood

Blood banks are running low, and could use your help if you’re healthy (more about the need for blood here). It is suggested you make an appointment first to prevent overcrowding. Cascade Regional Blood Services is asking people of all blood types to donate. To make an appointment, go online to or call one of the three donation centers:

* Tacoma: 220 South I Street. Phone (253) 383-2553.

* Federal Way: 909 South 336th, Suite B-102. Phone (253) 815-7740.

* Puyallup: 615 East Pioneer Ave., Suite 114. Phone (253) 841-4236.

Check in on those in your community

Folks at high risk may be wary of venturing out, especially those who are older. Follow social distancing guidelines by leaving your phone number on their door or mailbox or communicating through closed windows to see if they are in need of food or other goods. Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective is offering food delivery for folks who are sick or at risk (immunocompromised, elderly, etc.) and you may be able to help get them signed-up via their online form.

Consider making a donation to the local COVID-19 Response Fund

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF) is committed to supporting a thriving Pierce County during this time by providing connections for nonprofits, community service providers, and philanthropies to share disruptions to their regular work due to COVID-19, solutions they’re developing, needs that are surfacing, available resources, misinformation that needs correction, and examples of inequities exacerbated by the disruptions. For a list of available resources in the area, visit the Community Impact page. To support the Staying Connected: COVID-19 Response Fund, CLICK HERE.

Join the COVID-19 Volunteer Team

“MultiCare is looking for volunteers who can support our COVID-19 response efforts from the safety of your home. Sign up today by emailing with your name, your contact information and, if you would like, a few sentences about what inspires you to give back to your community. We will send regular updates on volunteer needs and ways you can help” (

Send a Positive Note to MultiCare Care Teams

“Our care teams are working hard to keep everyone safe. A kind word of encouragement makes a difference. Email your message to”(

Share Resources

There are many organizations offering free or reduced cost goods and services during this time. Help spread the word to friends and family with a phone call or on social media for all to see. Here are a couple to get you started.

South Sound 211: A free helpline that connects people in need with trained specialists to get matched with the right services. South Sound 2-1-1 provides access to hundreds of services and programs from Pierce, Thurston and Lewis Counties including, but not limited to rent, utilities, and basic food benefits. Simply dial 2-1-1.

Meals for Students: This interactive map shows locations and hours of free school meal sites across districts in Pierce County.

Disaster Distress Helpline: 24/7/365 crisis counseling & emotional support is available for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 infectious disease outbreak. Calls (1-800-985-5990; press “2” for Spanish) and texts (text TalkWithUs to 66746) are answered by trained counselors from a network of independently-operated crisis centers located across the U.S.

Donate to community partners

Many community organizations canceled fundraisers which allow them to continue their work. Financial resources  in this time when their work has become essential are everything. Help them continue to impact the community by donating online.

Emergency Food Network

Lutheran Community Services Northwest

Peace Community Center

Support local small businesses

Small businesses across all industries are being affected by Coronavirus. You can help these businesses through this time by thinking local first, purchasing gift cards for use later, and ordering takeout from restaurants offering delivery or pick up options.

Spread kindness and compassion

In this time of uncertainty, kindness and compassion towards others goes a long way. It is easy to slip into survival mode when you aren’t sure what the outcome of all of this will be. We challenge you to be a light in the distance for someone else today. Not only will you brighten their day, but your own as well. We are all in this together!