Our complete list of ways to support local, maintain social connections, and stay engaged in your community.
We know – its tough out there. Physical distancing is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it also increases social isolation. Fear not, we’re here for you (from a safe distance, of course). Here is our full list of recommendations for ways to stay socially connected while physically distancing.
Play a game
Our game shelf is a CultureHouse staple, and you don’t have to stop engaging your friends in some healthy competitions while we’re closed. Pogo and the Board Game Arena are two websites that allow you to invite your friends to play games with you remotely. Here’s some suggestions:
Watch something together
Movies and TV are a lot more fun when there’s people to laugh with, and that doesn’t have to stop. There’s plenty of websites that allow you to stream videos with your friends. Here’s some options:
- Twoseven allows you to synchronize Youtube, Netflix, and Vimeo as well as videos saved on your computer, all with built in text and video chatting.
- Plug.dj allows you to share music videos and Youtube clips with your friends in a private chat room.
- MyCircleTV is a synchronized video player with built-in voice chat, so you can talk with your friends straight from their site.
- Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows you to synchronize Netflix playback.
Visit a virtual museum
Collect some friends and family and take a virtual trip to the museum. Here are some options:
- The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center’s Virtual Gallery
- Unbound Visual Arts’ Virtual Gallery
- Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Suggestion: Check out their new exhibit, “Writing the Future“)
- Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum
- Boston Museum of African American History
- National Women’s History Museum
Visit the eLibrary
Cambridge and many other cities allow you to get eBooks, Audiobooks, and more online.
Shopping local is always important, but your favorite local businesses are especially vulnerable to the changing habits of social distancing. Keep reading for some ways to support local.
Food and drinks
You can still patronize your local restaurants by ordering delivery or take out, and you can stock up on essentials from local producers.
- Find Cambridge local businesses to support here.
- Find a very thorough list of businesses still open across the region from the Sustainable Business Network.
- You can still get your local beer straight from the source. Check out pick-up opportunities from Remnant Brewing, Winter Hill Brewing, Aeronaut, and Lamplighter.
- Bow Market is hosting an outdoor grocery store with touchless shopping so you can support local food vendors safely.
- Farmers Markets are open for the season!
Books and games
If you’re going to be in self-isolation for a while, you might as well read a new book, play a new game, or learn a new craft. Luckily, there’s plenty of local business owners ready to help you out – and in turn, you’ll help them stay afloat.
- Porter Square Books is still fulfilling orders from their warehouse, which includes games and puzzles. Need a reading recommendation? Check out PSB’s Staff Picks.
- All She Wrote Books has an online bookstore to browse and $1 media mail delivery.
- More Than Words has an online shop for you to peruse. If your book collection is getting a little too unmanageable, they are also still taking book donations.
- Are audiobooks more your style? You can buy audiobooks through your local bookstore via Libro.fm.
Art and crafts
- For your crafting needs, you can head to Gather Here’s online shop and take advantage of their free local delivery.
- Albertine Press is still processing orders from their Etsy shop, so grab a card or tote for a friend!
- The Boston Women’s Market has put its EmpowHER Market online.
- Support the baristas of 1369 Coffeehouse by shopping their online art market.
You can also support local by buying gift cards to use in the future. As Josh Cook of Porter Square Books tweeted, “Think of this as a no-interest loan that will give the store income when they need it, that you collect on later.” Support Your Spot, Rally for Restaurants, and Nift all sell gift cards to your favorite local businesses.
You can have almost anything delivered to your house through Localisity, but instead of supporting a megacorporation, you’re buying from a local business.
While we’re all going to feel the effects of the pandemic, it’s going to be hardest for our most vulnerable neighbors. As Alissa Walker from Curbed writes, “What we should be doing now is opening our front doors to take stock of our communities.” Here are some ways you can support community members in need during this difficult time.
- Volunteer with Food for Free to ensure that everyone is fed, especially students who typically rely on school meals.
- Volunteer at the Cambridge Community Center’s Food and Supply Pantry.
- Volunteer virtually with Building Impact.
- Volunteer with the Cambridge Bicycle Safety Emergency Delivery Service.
- Check out more volunteer opportunities at the Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse website.
- Donate to Cambridge Local First and support their advocacy for Cambridge’s local businesses.
- Donate to Y2Y so they can continue to provide beds for young people experiencing homelessness.
- Support the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) by donating to their emergency fundraiser or providing items on their Urgent Needs list or Amazon Wishlist.
- Give a local service industry worker a tip using the Cambridge Virtual Tip Jar.
- Support the baristas of Café Zing. the independent coffee shop inside Porter Square Books.
- Donate to the Cambridge Artist Relief Fund.
- Donate to Central Square BID’s Creativity & Learning Kit Supply Drive.
Join a mutual aid network
In uncertain times, it’s especially important to create and maintain neighbor-to-neighbor networks of care. Find and join a mutual aid network in your area.