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Be a Good Neighbor While Social Distancing

Even if you are not stuck at home, we are all social distancing, and chances are you have at least one neighbor quarantining. This has got me to thinking about all the ways we can reach out and feel connected while staying healthy and safe…

Text or Call your Neighbor

If you DON’T have your neighbor’s phone number, now is the time to ask for it so you can check in! Call or text when you’re going out or ordering groceries for delivery or curbside-pickup and ask if you can leave anything at their door. Even if they decline, you ‘ve communicated that they matter to you and that you care. And there is nothing stopping you from leaving a potted plant or bottle of wine if you want to deliver an extra smile.

Join Online Communities

Most neighborhoods these days have special groups where you can advertise needs, goods, and services to your neighbors. Look up your neighborhood or community on www.facebook.com or www.nextdoor.com and get involved! Offer to help out if you have a special skill, look for the requests for help (like feeding a cat or walking a dog), and respond to requests for advice or special assistance.

Play Games & Video Chat

Find an online game or app that your neighbors, family, and friends would enjoy with you. I have been playing chess with my dad on Chess with Friends and with my significant other at www.chess.com (yes, there’s an app for that!). My Book Club and Girls Club have moved our monthly and weekly meetings to www.zoom.com and https://hangouts.google.com/.

Go for a Walk

Let your neighbors see you! Smile and wave at anyone you see – at a window, on a balcony, walking or driving by. It’s okay to cross over to the other side of the street or to step off the sidewalk to maintain distance, just smile and wave while you do it!

Send a Special Delivery

Sometimes you want to do something out of the ordinary! Consider a local florist or one of the many companies listed at www.fruitbouquets.com that deliver flowers, gifts, and fruit baskets. A personal favorite of mine is a service that delivers intuitive and artful cards and gifts with a personal message designed to encourage and uplift your friend or family member: www.heartwarmingsurprise.com.

Do you have any other ideas? What helps you stay connected to friends, family, and the people who live in closest proximity to you? Please share in the comments below. We are all in this together.

By UF IFAS Extension Hernando County Master Gardener August Salzman