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10 Ways to Help Those in Need During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Justin Chaplin
March 25, 2020

There’s something about a pandemic that spreads panic and hopelessness, especially when we’re all trying to stay away from each other. But now’s the perfect time to get involved and help those in need during coronavirus. 

From donations to saving a life, here are 10 ways to help and make a positive impact during the pandemic.

1. Donate Extra Supplies

Medical equipment and supplies are in high demand as our health care providers battle coronavirus. If you’re not in a high-risk group and have supplies to spare, consider donating any extra N95 masks, latex gloves, or hand sanitizer you have lying around.

Some hospitals and medical centers are calling upon citizens to help make masks in the race against coronavirus. Call around to your local health providers and ask if they need handmade masks and about materials and other requirements. A sewing machine and some skills are usually necessary to complete the work. 

This FreeSewing Open Source Project also posted a link to medical mask sewing patterns. The founder’s wife is a surgeon. She helped inspire the idea to rally people to help ease the shortage.

2. Offer to Grocery Shop for High-Risk Individuals

Our elderly and immunocompromised neighbors are the most vulnerable to the risks of coronavirus. If you already know some neighbors who might be in need, leave a note with your contact information. You can offer to go grocery shopping, pick up medicine, or grab some take-out for them. 

You can also post the offer on an apartment complex bulletin board. Or, get in touch with the property managers to see which neighbors need immediate help.

3. Donate to Your Local Food Bank

You’ve seen the headlines of people panic-buying everything from toilet paper to bread. Your local food bank needs non-perishable donations to help feed the hungry and vulnerable during the pandemic. 

Call in advance so you can find out how you can leave a donation while practicing social distancing. If you’re nervous about exposing yourself to coronavirus, consider a financial contribution instead. The money you would’ve spent on the non-perishables can go straight to the local food bank.

4. Support Local Businesses

Our local businesses are suffering from the sudden halt of commerce and foot traffic. Restaurants desperately need our help now more than ever. Order take-out, tip generously, and buy gift cards to your favorite establishments to use at a later date. 

Instead of heading into the big box grocery retailers, head straight to the mom and pop shops instead. You’ll offer support to a local business in need and likely find better-stocked items.

5. Donate to Charities

Charities are scrambling to assist as many vulnerable groups as possible during this crisis. Not sure who to donate to? CharityNavigator pulled together a list of worthy charities supporting those affected by the coronavirus outbreak to donate to today.

6. Volunteer Responsibly

Depending on where you live and if you’re able to leave your apartment for more than the essentials, there may be volunteer opportunities available. Public schools are looking for volunteers to staff food donation sites for students. They may also be looking for people to bus meals into neighborhoods.

Check with local charities and nonprofits serving your community and ask them how you can help.

7. Offer Your Skills

Businesses, contractors, and neighbors are struggling to stay afloat in this new reality. Volunteer your skills in graphic design, financial planning, admin, or other areas to help a business stay open. Idealist.org can also help connect you to nonprofits and charities looking for skilled volunteers.

Remember, you can also offer to teach new skills to your own network. Offer to help anyone scrambling to find virtual odd jobs after being laid off.

8. Give Blood

The American Red Cross has put out an urgent call for more blood donations. As more people quarantine and shelter in place, fewer people are out giving blood. Your donation can help save lives and keep centers open.

There are countless drives and donation centers set up across the country. You can also make an appointment through the American Red Cross website to avoid crowds and help maintain social distance. 

The American Red Cross also assures that they’re taking extra precautions. Those include temperature checks, laundering blankets and supplies after every use, and spacing beds apart.

9. Cook Someone a Meal

Not everyone who is at home can cook a meal or even get out to buy groceries. Whether you have an elderly neighbor or just a friend in need, you can cook up a homemade meal. 

Cooking for someone else can offer sustenance while providing the opportunity to engage with someone feeling desperately out of touch.

10. Help Save a Life

Experts warn of a growing mental health crisis that will coincide with social isolation and heightened global anxieties. Help save a life by volunteering at an online suicide prevention hotline.

Sites like CrisisTextLine will train you for free to help in a crisis, with the expectation that you can work 4 hours a week until you hit 200 hours

The hours you can volunteer are usually flexible, but they’re in the highest need during late nights and early mornings.

Pick and choose your favorite ways to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. Along the way, you may discover the real beauty of giving back. It helps you feel even more connected, productive, and hopeful while weathering the crisis.

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