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How To Safely Support Your Community During the Pandemic

“Do your little bit of good where you are;

it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 

— Desmond Tutu

In times of crisis and uncertainty, people come together to support one another.

In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have fallen sick, thousands have died, and more tragic events could follow.

The healthcare system is overwhelmed, the nation is on lockdown, businesses are closing, and unemployment is at an all-time high.

And yet, these are the times that bring out the very best in people. All around us there are individuals answering the call with service, kindness, and generosity. This spirit of compassion and connection is probably what led you to this article. The world is in crisis, your community needs support, and you want to help.

While not everyone is qualified or able to serve as a frontline healthcare worker or first responder, there is no shortage of ways we can all make an important difference. Every little bit of good helps.

Below, we have outlined a few ways you can support your community during the pandemic without jeopardizing your health or safety.

First and foremost, you can give money—every organization needs it—as it often enables the fastest response to emergency conditions. You can also donate critical supplies, such as food, safety equipment, and blood. These commodities are in great demand due to the crisis.

You can also volunteer your time, which may be more valuable than money or goods, especially where human touch is essential. Another helpful practice is to support local businesses at risk, most notably your favorite restaurants and shops that have been forced to shut down or severely curtail their services. Lastly, you can take extra care of yourself. Follow the health guidelines designed to keep you safe and stop the virus from spreading.

Right now, charitable groups, community organizations, and people at risk desperately need your help. On the national or local level, it’s easy to find worthy organizations that can use your donations of time and money. Simply choose the causes that matter most to you. Below are just a few highly reputable charities that are making an important difference during this coronavirus outbreak:

1. Donate Money

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Boys & Girls Club of America

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America needs your donation to continue providing critical goods and services during the pandemic, this includes groceries and virtual learning to kids at over 2,500 clubs. You can donate here.

CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation supports the critical health protection work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Funds are needed to enable the CDC to respond to COVID-19. Click here to make a donation.

No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry funds free meals for children in need and ensures that families know how to find meals. This is especially important with schools being closed. To make a donation to No Kid Hungry, click here.

United Way

The United Way uses our donations to help those in need with access to critical information and services like food, shelter, and more. To find a United Way affiliate in your local area, click here.

Local Charities

Local Charities across the country need your donations to meet the emerging and critical needs of their surrounding communities. This includes housing assistance, food supplies, and medical services. To find a worthy and credible organization in your area, click here.

2. Donate Much Needed Supplies

Drawing blood

Blood

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as blood drives are cancelled to maintain social distancing. Healthy people are needed to donate blood through individual appointments. Make an appointment here.

Food

Feeding America supports a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries across the country. Your donations of time, money, and food are critical in this time of need. Find a feeding program in your local community.

Household Items

The Salvation Army needs donations of money and basic supplies, such as nonperishable foods, baby supplies, hygiene products, cleaning and sanitizing items, paper towels, and toilet paper. Find a drop-off location or schedule a free pickup, here.

Medical Supplies

Medical Supply Drive is requesting donations of unused PPE supplies, such as surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields, non-latex gloves, medical and surgical gowns, plastic rain ponchos, bleach, sanitizing wipes, and hand sanitizers. They ask that you take your donations to your nearest hospital. For more information, to volunteer, or donate money, please click here.

3. Volunteer Your Time

Circle of connected hands

Volunteer Remotely or On-Site

VolunteerMatch, the world leader in volunteerism, has a growing network of COVID-19 volunteering opportunities onsite in local communities and virtually online. Click here to find a volunteering project that matches your strengths.

Deliver Meals

Meals on Wheels delivers 220 million meals to 2.4 million seniors each year. Their frequent in-home visits also combat social isolation, address safety hazards and provide holistic care. You’ll find ways to donate and volunteer here.

Help Seniors at Risk

Older people face a greater life-threatening risk if infected with the Coronavirus, so it’s critical that they limit their public contact. If you know someone who is elderly, check in on them and ask if you can help them with errands, such as shopping for groceries or supplies. To maintain social distancing, you can communicate by phone or the internet and leave items at their doorstep.

Adopt a Pet

The Humane Society says now is a great time to adopt a pet to reduce the strain on shelters that are taking in high numbers of pets for owners who are seriously ill, hospitalized, or financially burdened by the COVID-19 crisis. For more information on adopting a pet during the current healthcare crisis, please click here.

4. Support Local Businesses at Risk

Restaurant with menus

Many businesses across the country have either had to close down their shops or dramatically curtail their business because of the COVID-19 outbreak. While this may hinder the spread of the Coronavirus, many of these businesses cannot afford the loss of revenue and some of them may not survive the current shelter-in-place.

Restaurants and Bars

Many restaurants and bars have either shut down or limited their services to either take-out or delivery-only. You can support these establishments during the pandemic by simply ordering food on a regular basis. Some cities and news outlets have tried promoting social campaigns, like “Takeout Tuesdays” to support their local eateries and food-service employees. When ordering delivery, just remember to ask your delivery person to leave your order at the front door to avoid close contact—and add a good tip!

Clubs, Amusement Parks, Theaters, and Concert Venues

Businesses that accommodate large numbers of people can no longer operate safely. You can support many of these businesses by buying gift cards now for later use or to give as gifts. If they sell merchandise online, consider buying some.

Specialty Stores and Boutiques

Many small or boutique shops have closed their stores for the time being. You can help some of these businesses by shopping at their website, if they have one. Also consider buying a gift card, if available.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Self-care sign

Maybe the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others during this highly contagious pandemic, is to strictly follow the recommended health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with other people.
  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Even with a facemask, continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

For a more complete list of the CDC health guidelines for the Coronavirus, please visit their website.

We Will Get Through This

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the first life-threatening crisis the world has faced, and it won’t be the last. Like other disasters before it, we will no doubt defeat this terrible virus because of the combined service, sacrifice, and contributions of caring people like you.

We will emerge stronger, smarter, and more united. We will get through this tragedy. And we will do it together.

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