In it together: Most Americans gave back to their communities for the first time during pandemic

NEW YORK — There’s a common saying people are sharing during the coronavirus pandemic: “we’re all in this together.” Now, a new study reveals it’s actually true. Over half of Americans say they’ve given back to their community and took action for the first time in their entire lives this past year.

The survey of 2,000 Americans also finds that, as a result of the pandemic, 68 percent of people feel more emotionally connected to their community than ever before. Nearly as many (65%) said the pandemic provided them with the motivation to get more involved in their communities. Two in three Americans added the pandemic caused them to give back to causes they care about more now than ever before.

Three-quarters of the poll said they either personally experienced or know someone who experienced a life hardship — like losing a job, struggling financially, or not having access to food and water — due to COVID. For 70 percent of respondents who make an active effort to support local causes, those life hardships and tough situations are the main motivators to give back to the community.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, which recently announced “Made For A Better Tomorrow,” researchers also discovered supporting social causes in the community is important to 68 percent of Americans.

Could community service go remote?

giving back covidSixty-five percent of respondents said they’d be more willing to get involved in their communities if they didn’t have to be physically present. Nearly as many (63%) would actually prefer to take action virtually, instead of in-person. Of those respondents, 62 percent would be more inclined to give back virtually because it’s more accessible. Another 57 percent believe it will also minimize health risks. Even when good deeds are concerned, health is still a top priority.

“The pandemic has made people feel more connected to their communities and created a stronger desire to give back. With roots in the Northeast for 175 years, we have long supported local communities, and our new campaign’s One-For-One Promise will invite people to join us by matching recycling pledges with water donations for communities that need it most¹,” says Yumi Clevenger-Lee, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, BlueTriton Brands, maker of Poland Spring, in a statement.

Going green and staying that way after COVID

giving back covidThe poll also reveals more people aren’t just giving back to the community, but are taking environmental action as well. Seven in 10 people say supporting environmental causes is important to them. Sixty-four percent added the past year’s events also drove them to notice a big difference in their environmental habits. For this group, 93 percent said they’ve been recycling more since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) have made an active effort to be more environmentally friendly this past year. Their main motivations include the environmental impacts they’ve seen first-hand (53%), being a part of their personality (49%), and the chance to leave the world a better place (42%).

Overall, 69 percent of Americans say they take action for their environment and their community because it makes them simply feel good. So good, in fact, that 70 percent plan to keep up their good deeds after the pandemic at the same level as they do now.

“These findings, which convey current attitudes towards environmental and social action in the U.S., exemplify the power of our new initiative, not only encouraging recycling to help give plastic bottles a new life, but it also allows consumers to support local communities in need—all with a simple and safe online pledge,” Yumi adds.

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