Reminiscing our childhood is a lot like opening a box of chocolates. Slightly cloying, but the aftertaste always has us coming back for more. The trees were taller, colours were brighter, and we learned life lessons that formed the core of our very being. Like our parents teaching us that true happiness comes from helping others.

Today, with our country reeling under the ravaging second wave of the Covid-19 crisis, we are all united in our deep desire to support each other. The healthcare heroes are racing against time to save precious lives, but there still continues to be a critical shortage of medical equipment, beds and oxygen. With such uncertainty looming over us, we're often moved to ask, "How can I help?"

So we are listing down 7 different ways in which you can be a ray of light in someone's life in these dark times. 

1. Check on your neighbors

As much as it has been a tough time for us and our loved ones physically, the toll this pandemic has taken on our mental health is insurmountable. So even if we cannot embrace each other, there are ways to let others know that you're still around. You can start with a knock on your neighbour's door (especially the elderly), to make sure they’re doing okay. You can also from time to time call them or maybe just drop a text to ask if there is anything that they need. If your neighbours are senior citizens, then it might be dangerous for them to step out even for emergency grocery runs, given their compromised immune systems. If you have the time, then consider helping out by getting them what they need (by maintaining a distance of course!)

2. Spread positive news and kindness

Not a day goes by when the phone beeps and you're not left feeling heavy-hearted reading the news flash. These are turbulent times, with enough reasons for us to feel demotivated and gloomy. So if there is even the slightest chance your face lit up on reading or watching something, then pass it on. Spreading happiness around in these times will bring your heart a certain kind of warmth of a more fulfilled life. Once all of this is over, we're going to have a whole lot of people to thank. Until then, we can get a head start on finding ways to show our gratitude. Like maybe, ordering an extra pizza for the delivery person coming to drop off your dinner, or leaving a box of goodies at your neighbour's door who's a doctor, giving new clothes and necessities such as new masks and sanitisers to people collecting waste at your doorstep, etc. Anything that spreads more smiles. 

3. Make a donation 

When we think about helping others, offering monetary assistance crops up in our minds as the most obvious way to go about it. And in view of the current situation, there are plenty of places where you can go to make donations. There's a good chance that you may come across many charities in your community that may be looking for help dealing with food banks, homeless shelters, plasma and oxygen arrangements, etc. In fact, one of the recent ones to have grabbed our attention is the huge act of compassion exhibited by Save the Children's #ProtectAMillion mission. The initiative aims to set up and operate a 100-bed medical facility in Delhi, backed with a dedicated oxygen plant to cater to the most disadvantaged sections of the society. You can find out more about what they're doing right here to start pitching in. 

4. Connect with an NGO to volunteer virtually

The landscape of volunteering has evolved with the surge in the COVID-19 cases, so even a little bit of browsing and online research can lead you to a lot of virtual opportunities. Right now, there are a lot of nonprofit organisations that are working towards restoring the basic necessities of life for those who can't support themselves due to physical, psychological or even economical disabilities. If you want, you can take their hand and walk them through these turbulent times, and maybe even continue if you feel like it. There are also mobile apps that help you in connecting with people and organisations virtually, who are looking for more volunteers. So find the cause that appeals to you the most and start helping out.

5. Become a listener

A little bit of comfort and reassurance goes a long way in showing that we're all in this together. Now more than ever, there is a need to maintain a person-to-person connection in any safe way that is possible. And providing emotional support right now is one of the most viable forms of assistance that you can offer, so be it. There are mobile apps and websites where you can volunteer to be a listener or even chat with people who wish to let it out. And if you're not willing to go on record to do this, you can always just call up your friends and family, check up on them to see if they want to say something. But before you get started, make sure you're in the space yourself to fathom the emotions that may be thrown at you in the process. This is important because you need to be strong and solid from within in order to help the ones who are not. 

6. Educate the children of your domestic help

Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to attain anything in this world. We are lucky that we have the sources to educate our children even as the world has been brought down to its knees by the pandemic. The show is going on for us, so why should it stop for someone who's a little less economically privileged than us? It's not fair and we can change this today. So what if your domestic help's children are not going to school, education can still come to them with your help. Teach them. Whatever you can in whatever time you can manage. This is probably one of the best ways to give back to this world that we have taken so much from. So go for it. 

7. Take care of yourself!

Finally, do not forget to ask yourself "how are you?" every now and then. Although, make sure no one's watching. After all, you must tighten your own seat belt before helping others, right? This will help you in making safe and smart choices and even accomplish your civic duties more responsibly. So do whatever works the best for you, meditate, drink lots of water, watch feel-good movies, cook, workout, you know your jam. 

There are so many ways to help out others, so pick whichever works for you the best. But do not forget to drop by the official website of Save the Children to help them gather a total sum of ₹2 Crores for their #ProtectAMillion mission. The initiative will be reaching 1 million children and their families, in 14 states of India affected by the second wave of the pandemic. They will be providing life-saving medical care, humanitarian aid and rehabilitation support to the worst-hit and most vulnerable children and their families. So make your contribution now. 

This is a joint initiative by Save the Children and Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi. And the actress is asking us to join her pledge in being 'A Breath Of Life' for those in need. 

In these hard times, little children are probably leading a more precarious life as they remain dependent on others for care and protection. We must know the proper do's and don'ts especially when dealing with children in distress. Save the Children is sharing some tips with us. 

We are doing our bit, now it's your turn.