The outbreak and spread of the coronavirus have caused stress and anxiety, but it has also brought out the best in people. Community and national organizations have banded together to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some ways you can help:
Feeding America: Food banks are a good way for people to help out. Feeding America offers people a way to donate to food banks nationwide. People who want to donate can plug in their zip code to find the nearest donation station.
No Kid Hungry: The No Kid Hungry organization is providing food to areas in need and is asking people to be proactive in persuading Congress to pass emergency SNAP funding for low-income families. The organization said it will divert resources to help communities particularly hard-hit by the crisis, and will provide emergency grants to food banks and community groups. The organization is also accepting donations.
Meals on Wheels: Geared toward senior citizens, Meals on Wheels notes that “vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19.” The organization has created a Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund for cash donations. The organization is also seeking volunteers.
The CDC Foundation: People can help the CDC Foundation through its donor-advised fund. The DAF allows donors to make contributions and receive an immediate tax benefit. The CDC Foundation also has a planned giving method, which allows people to make larger gifts, as in wills or through a living trust. In addition, the CDC Foundation has launched an emergency 30-day crowdfunding campaign.
Center for Disaster Philanthropy: The organization has established a COVID-19 Response Fund “to support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities” for people affected by the coronavirus -- and for the responders. The CDP’s aim is to focus on supporting local nonprofit organizations working in areas identified as having high numbers of affected people.
Donate blood: Several blood drives have been canceled in the past week and the American Red Cross said it is facing a severe blood shortage. The organization is asking for blood donations from healthy people but said individuals who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, Italy or South Korea should postpone donating for 28 days after returning. The same holds true for anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus or who have had contact with someone who has tested positive.
“The cancellations are really adding up,” Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, told “Good Morning America.” “In normal times, we have 13,000 people a day donating blood and we rely on all these daily donations to keep the blood supply going. We’re trying to avoid a crisis here.”
Support local businesses: Buying a gift card at a local store, theater or restaurant can help businesses who are fighting the increasing economic pinch caused by the coronavirus, Amanda Ballantyne, national director of The Main Street Alliance, told CNN. Liz Urrutia, CEO of nonprofit microlender Opportunity Fund, told the network. “I just bought gift cards to every one of the (local)restaurants that I love. They get their cash today. And I’ll be able to use it later,” Urrutia told CNN. Shopping at local businesses is also a way to keep cash flow rolling for local merchants.
Check on older neighbors: Health officials have targeted people older than 60 as being most vulnerable to COVID-19. Many of those people are staying at home and may not open their doors over fears of coming in contact with the coronavirus. While some people over 60 may not be tech-savvy, some do own smartphones and computers. One way to check on them without putting their health at risk is to send a text or email, The New York Times reported. If those options are not available, “talk through the door,” Eric Goldstein, the CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, told the newspaper. Goldstein recommended offering help in a low-key way, such as saying, “I’m running to the market, can I get you anything?”
Being neighborly during a crisis never hurts.