COVID-19: Nineteen Ways You Can Make a Difference Right Now

What can we be doing to help others in this stressful and scary time? Here are 19 ways we can all make a positive impact.


All loaded up and ready for my Meals on Wheels weekly route, and thankful for my wagon!

So it’s now Day 4,273 of social distancing. Give or take. What can we be doing to help others in this stressful and scary time? Well, simply put: we can volunteer our time, and we can donate to organizations that help those that need it most.


I’ve made a list of some easy ways we can all make a significant impact (yes, there are countless ways, but this is a solid start). Please do what you can, and thank you for staying home!

Giving Your Time:

1. Check in on your neighbors.

Look out for your neighbors that are part of the most vulnerable members of your community. This includes the elderly, but remember your other neighbors as well. Volunteering to do simple tasks — like helping out with errands or doing some grocery shopping — can go a long way for those who may be in quarantine or have a compromised immune system.


2. Reach out to people you know in self-isolation.

Call them. Video chat with them. Send them a quick text to just say hello. Help them feel less alone and show social support.


3. Counter racist fears and xenophobia.

Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their origin or ethnicity. Help stop the anxiety and abuse by educating people and correcting racist comments or behavior when you hear or see them.


4. Donate blood.

There is a significant blood shortage right now and high demand for blood. Organized blood drives have been shut down for the time being, but a lot of donor centers are still open and increasing efforts to keep their facilities safe and sanitized to ensure everyone’s health and safety. If you’re healthy, consider donating. For more info go to Red Cross.


5. Volunteer with Meals on Wheels America.

This is the only federally supported program explicitly designed to meet the nutritional and social needs of seniors. Together, volunteers deliver 220 million meals each year to 2.4 million seniors. You can sign up to deliver meals or donate here.


6. Licensed health care professionals can volunteer.

To get information on eligibility, view credential levels that are required by clinical competency, and register at the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals in your state.


7. Donate medical supplies or equipment.

Provide details on what you are offering through online medical supplies and equipment form here.


8. Donate your unused belongings.

Use this time to thin out your closet and home and donate your gently used clothing and belongings to those in need. Check your local Salvation Army.


9. Have you recovered from COVID-19?

Here’s one way you might be able to help others.


10. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Listen to our furry friends: stay home! As time goes by it will become harder and harder for us to maintain this social distancing, especially those of us that are extroverts (you know who you are - I miss you too!). Stay up to speed on the CDC’s guidelines.


Furry family members all agree: stay home!


Giving Financially:

11. Gift cards.

Buying gift cards provide a local small business a cash infusion now to make it through hard times. It is essentially a no-interest loan from you, and it helps keep that business afloat until their doors can open once again.


12. Shop early.

If you’re in a financial position to do so, go ahead and complete shopping now that you would typically wait to do for a few months. Support the local businesses early for beach season, back to school shopping, birthdays — heck, even Christmas.


13. Your local food bank.

Due to panic surrounding the virus, donations to many local food banks are down significantly. In addition, some food banks have reported that local need has increased. More people are asking for assistance because their regular grocery stores just don’t have the necessities they’re looking for due to other customers over-buying. In Oregon visit here.


14. Center for Disease Control (CDC).

This is the organization we're all using as our primary resource for reliable information right now (or, um, should be). This organization provides support for the critical health protection work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is raising emergency response funds to enable the CDC to respond to COVID-19. You can donate here.


15. Center for Disease Philanthropy.

This fund supports nonprofit organizations working directly to respond to the pandemic among the most vulnerable populations in order to help build their capacity for response. Areas of emphasis include supporting quarantined and vulnerable individuals, hygiene promotion campaigns, and helping health-care workers purchase gloves, masks, gowns, and other protective equipment. Donate here.


16. United Way.

Your generosity will help families and people in need get critical information and services like food, shelter, and more through the United Way network. 95% of your donation will provide relief to those left vulnerable by the pandemic. Donate here.


17. Feed the Children.

This organization works with thousands of partner agencies across the country, including shelters, food pantries, churches, and soup kitchens. You can donate here. To donate food or hygiene items, call 1-800-627-4556.


18. First Book or Children's Book Bank.

Donations will help deliver millions of books to children who don’t have internet access or home libraries to keep learning. You can donate nationally to First Book, or in Oregon at the Children's Book Bank.


19. Ronald McDonald House.

This amazing organization provides housing, meals, and support for families who have children with serious illnesses and must be away from home for long periods. The organization is working on repurposing some of its spaces for health-care workers on the front lines of the crisis. Search for in-kind donations being accepted by your local chapter. You can donate money here.


What our family gatherings look like these days.

With so many legitimate organizations you can contribute to, not everybody means well. Remember to be vigilant of online scams! Review Essential Tips from MYIDCare here (and no, this is not a scam).


Are you affiliated with an organization working hard to bring relief to others right now? Please contact me so I can learn more about your efforts! Wishing you health and happiness in this uncertain time.

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