Last week we put a spotlight on the amazing work that companies are doing to help during the coronavirus outbreak. It was a post inspired by the conversations that many people in Gladly were having over our Slack channels—in fact, many of the companies on that list were plucked from various channels and threads.
But besides applauding these brands for stepping up, an equally important theme that kept coming up in those same Slack conversations was around how we as individuals could do our part to help. And there were so many great ideas, we decided it warranted its own blog post too.
Because while we may not have the resources or supply chains that these brands do, there are still many ways we can get involved in the fight. If you have the time or the dollars to spare, here are just some of the ways you can help.
Help Frontline Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers in the US are still running dangerously low on the protective gear needed to keep themselves safe from the very sickness they’re helping to treat. Here are a few ways you can help to shore the stocks of these life-saving masks and gowns.
JOANN. Joann is leveraging the grassroots efforts of its crafting community, providing free tutorials and supplies to volunteers wanting to make face masks for healthcare workers on the frontline. Once made, JOANN also helps deliver those supplies to hospitals in need. Join the effort here.
Mask Match. Mask Match wants to take any excess masks you have and distribute them to healthcare workers dangerously low on these supplies. Once a donor is matched with a hospital or healthcare worker in need, they can schedule a pickup via USPS. Donate your masks today.
Slice Out Hunger. In the hustle of helping one patient after the other, it can be hard for our healthcare workers to take the time to care for themselves. Slice Out Hunger helps to coordinate with pizzerias on the ground to send hospitals some much-needed sustenance in the form of pizza. Donate a slice here.
Center for Disaster Philanthropy Covid-19 Response Fund. The fund helps support non-profit organizations operating in areas with high numbers of affected or vulnerable populations. Amongst other things, they help with purchases of masks, gowns, gloves and other protective equipment, as well as providing support to quarantined and vulnerable individuals. Donate to the fund here.
Direct Relief. Helps provide healthcare workers (both in the US and internationally) with lifesaving medical supplies, delivering protective masks, exam gloves and isolation gowns in areas with confirmed covid-19 cases. Make a donation here.
Help Small, Local Businesses (And The People Who Work In Them)
With offices shutting down and people staying home, the effect on local businesses and restaurants have been close to devastating. Here are some ways you can help your local stomping grounds stay afloat until it’s safe to go back out.
Help Main Street. Help Main Street aggregates restaurant gift cards in one space for customers to purchase online. That way they can still provide their favorite eateries with a source of income while they’re shut down, or operate in a limited capacity. The site currently features a database of over 47,000 businesses across New York City. Get a gift card here.
Kabbage. Businesses that sign up with Kabbage can sell gift certificates to their restaurants online, for between $15 to $500. Much like Help Main Street, customers can then buy those certificates to use later. Buy a gift certificate.
Just For Funds. Pun-nily named Just For Funds is keeping a running list of different ways you can help local businesses (from venues, to restaurants, bars, and shops) across San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta. That includes buying takeaways, contributing to GoFundMe pages, and more. See how you can help here.
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation. The foundation helps fund on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community and offers zero-interest loans to businesses so they can help maintain their payroll. They are also establishing a relief fund to help restaurant workers through hardships or health issues arising from covid-19. Donate to them here.
Eater has put together a great list of organizations helping to support businesses and workers in the restaurant industry, so be sure to visit for more.
Help Feed Those In Need
As reliance on food banks increases, donating funds is the most helpful way of helping these non-profits as it allows them to make purchases in bulk, and gives them the flexibility to put resources to where they’re most needed.
Feeding America. Feeding America helps to not only fund food banks across the country, but also runs some other really great initiatives, like ensuring students who rely on school meals have access to them outside the classroom, as well as distributing other non-food (but equally important) necessities like cleaning supplies, diapers, and personal care products. Donate to Feeding America here.
Feed the Children. Feed the Children works with partners across the US including food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens to donate food and other essentials to families in need. Donate to Feed the Children here.
Meals on Wheels. As the name suggests, Meals on Wheels delivers free, nutritious meals to vulnerable senior citizens across the US. Your donations will help them replenish food supplies, provide transportation and personnel, and fund their tech-based efforts to monitor isolated elderly recipients. Donate to Meals on Wheels here.
No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry helps ensure that, even amidst these school closures, the 22 million children in need continue to get the free meals they rely on. Donate to No Kid Hungry here.
Feeding America has a list of food bank centers if you’re interested in donating.
Help Your Vulnerable Neighbors
Older adults (over the age of 60), and people (of any age) with underlying conditions (such as asthma or a heart condition), have been proven to be more vulnerable to this disease. (The CDC has a more extensive list of who qualifies as vulnerable.)
If you’re healthy and can help, volunteer to pick up groceries, prescriptions or other essentials for your more vulnerable neighbors so they can stay home and safe from risk of infection.
Helping Hands.Helping Hands is a grassroots effort aimed at matching high-risk individuals with neighboring volunteers who can help run their necessary errands. Both healthy volunteers, and vulnerable citizens, just need to sign up via their website. If you’re healthy and can help, sign up here.
Nextdoor And Other Social Networking Sites. Slightly less high-tech—but by no means less effective—is to offer your help to neighbors and friends on Nextdoor (which is kind of like Facebook but just in your neighborhood) or other social networking sites. Not only can you offer your help, but it’s an inspiring call to action for your friends and family to follow suit too.
Help People With Healthcare Costs
For those of us who are uninsured or underinsured, a single trip to the emergency room can be life-altering. Thankfully there are a number of organizations at hand to help them get the medical attention they need, without having to worry about whether they can afford the bill at the end of it.
HealthWell Foundation. HealthWell Foundation helps people in need with their co-pays and necessary medication. Help subsidize their medical costs by donating here.
RIP Medical Debt. The organization helps people that are already struggling with medical debt by buying up their debt, and effectively canceling it out. Every donation you make has an exponential effect on medical debt canceled, so your $100 donation could amount to a $1000 in debt cancellation. Make a difference by donating here.
Help Flatten The Curve
And last but not least, one of the most important things we can do to fight this outbreak is to listen to the best practices recommended by the medical and scientific community.
Stay Home. And Be Responsible When You’re Out. Stay home if you’re able to. And if you must go out, be sure to cover your face (even a scarf or bandana will do), and keep a safe distance of about 6 ft with people outside of your household.
Wash Your Hands. Wash your hands often, and for at least 20 seconds (if that’s hard to keep count of, try singing Happy Birthday twice through. Or if you’re at all tech-savvy, try making your own soap dispenser/personal DJ.) The better we get at preventing the spread of this disease, the faster we can come out of it.
Don’t Hoard. Whether it’s toilet paper, face masks or eggs, the best thing we can do is be considerate of our neighbors’ wellbeing, as well as our own. After all, we’re all in this together.
While staying at home, and away from friends and family, has been challenging for many of us, what’s been truly uplifting is seeing how the ‘How can we help?’s have outnumbered the ‘How much longer?’s. For those of us who can afford to help, this is just a small number of the many worthy non-profits and campaigns you can give to. If you find more, please don’t hesitate to share them with us on Twitter (@Gladly).
At the end of the day we can, and we will get through this. But we can really only do it together.