Navigating the COVID-19 crisis can be tough – especially with increasing worries about the health and safety of communities across the world. In a time like this, it’s common for us to ask ourselves what steps we can take to help provide our communities with the support they need. Fortunately, there are dozens of organizations working tirelessly to gather a wide range of goods and provide assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations. Here are some of the ways you can contribute to the fight against COVID-19 locally, nationally, and worldwide all from the comfort of your home.
Donate Spare Medical Supplies and Non-Perishables
PPE, or personal protective equipment, is in incredibly high demand, and medical professionals worldwide are seeking donations from anyone who has spare equipment on hand, from surgical masks and disposable gowns to hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Get Us PPE works hard to facilitate the manufacturing of vital medical materials and provides safe, widespread, and contact-free donation opportunities for volunteers. You can use their map to discover local organizations and facilities in need.
Additionally, with the unemployment rate continuously rising, shops limiting their hours or closing all-together, and many people struggling to afford basic necessities, non-perishables are an easily-accessible and vital collection of goods that can be donated to local organizations, including food pantries and shelters. Non-perishables are foods that can be stored long-term without an immediate need for refrigeration, such as beans, soups, and canned fruits and veggies.
Build Or Sponsor Health Kits For At-Risk Community Members
Many organizations helping provide necessities to vulnerable members of our communities are in need of the funds or materials required to build and provide health or hygiene kits. Health or hygiene kits typically include items like toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo. Some organizations allow volunteers to build health kits themselves, while others accept donations that sponsor the creation of these kits. Consider reaching out to some organizations near you to find out what they need.
Foster A Furry Friend
As numerous organizations are forced to reduce their operating hours due to a lack of resources, animals are also in need of our help as a result. If you’ve been planning on adopting a furry friend, now would be a great time to welcome a pet into a loving home. If you’re unable to bring an animal home permanently, consider using this time to foster. Not only does fostering help aid overcrowded shelters and rescues, but it allows animals to adapt to a more comfortable environment and can help families who are in need of the extra assistance. For instance, if a pet owner contracts COVID-19, it’s in their best interest to avoid contact with their pets. Furthermore, illnesses can make it difficult for one to care for their animals until they have recovered.
If you’re unable to adopt or foster, there are still ways you can help animals in need. Ask your local shelters and rescues what types of goods they’re lacking, whether it’s pet food or other materials, and consider making a donation if you’re in a position to do so.
For more information on how you can help and how COVID-19 is impacting animal shelters, you can visit the Humane Society’s website.
Become A Virtual Volunteer
When we think about different ways we can volunteer, we often think about taking part in more physical activities and tasks. While lending a hand in-person is important, it’s not currently the safest or most accessible way to help out. Fortunately, it’s easy to become a virtual volunteer and perform simple, yet meaningful tasks from home.
Those who reside in assisted-living facilities are most likely confined to their rooms amidst the current pandemic. This is a time that leaves many of us feeling isolated and anxious about what the future holds, and sometimes we all just need a little bit of comfort. Consider sending some heartfelt letters to some of these facilities as a way of showing some love, support, and reassurance to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Who knows – you might even gain a new penpal!
You can also write letters to frontline workers, such as those working in healthcare or those who deliver your mail, as a way of thanking them for the services they provide.
As students of all ages adapt to a new form of learning while rounding out their final semester of the school year, they face the challenge of being unable to get the same level of one-on-one support they may have gotten inside the classroom or during office hours. Fortunately, it’s possible to provide tutoring sessions online. If you’re looking to share your writing expertise or your understanding of algebra with current students, now would be an amazing time to help out as a tutor.
There are plenty of ways to get creative and make a difference while upholding social distancing guidelines. Providing support to our neighbors all over the world is one of the best things we can do as we push through these hardships together.
Contribute To A Local, National, Or Global Fundraiser
Organizations worldwide are hosting COVID-19 fundraisers that serve to provide many of the aforementioned materials and necessities to hospitals, employees, volunteers, and at-risk members of the population. Below, we’ve listed four widespread organizations that are worth donating to should you have the means to do so. Additionally, as ZOOO operates out of Japan, Nevada, and California, we’ve included a list of some location-specific organizations that are also doing their part.
Right now, DIrect Relief is working to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and other crucial supplies to health workers. Their efforts include coordination with the American Hospital Association to purchase recovery tools, such as oxygen concentrators, that allow people to continue their recovery while also freeing up ICU beds. Direct Relief does their best to anticipate shortages and have stockpiles of supplies ready to go, and they have already donated millions of much-needed items throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seniors are a very vulnerable part of the global population, and Meals On Wheels provides them with a way to receive nourishment without putting them at further risk. Any funds donated help with replenishing food supplies, allowing for personnel to efficiently distribute scientific information and check in on isolated community members, and subsidizing transportation costs.
Right now is a very scary time for survivors of domestic abuse, as many of them may be stuck in quarantine with their abusers for extended periods. Additionally, abusers may be using the pandemic as a means of spreading misinformation and withholding crucial supplies or resources, such as insurance coverage. People of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are faced with domestic abuse and it’s crucial that we recognize that not everybody who is sheltered in place is safe. The National Domestic Violence Hotline strives to empower those who are affected by domestic abuse, providing them with vital resources and support during every hour of the day.
United Way is deeply dedicated to providing food, shelter, and pertinent information to the world’s most vulnerable community members at a time when resources can be scarce and people may be unsure of where to turn. You can donate to your local community’s efforts, a larger nationwide fund, or an international fund in order to help support United Way’s mission.
The Red Feather Community Chest is providing food distribution and educational assistance for children and their families while schools are shut down and many people are on temporary leave.
The Tokyo Volunteer and Citizen Activity Center in Taitō City is accepting donations of essential items to be distributed to low-income and homeless members of the population, including non-perishable foods, hygiene products, and tents.
The Nobody Goes Hungry GoFundMe was set up with the intention of providing food assistance to members of the service industry who have been out of work during the COVID-19 crisis.
Three Square strives to provide a complete food solution for Southern Nevada by providing ready-to-eat meals while simultaneously organizing food banking and food rescue initiatives. Through May 31st, gifts will be doubled thanks to donation matches made by sponsors.
The UNLV Food Pantry supports students, staff, and faculty year-round through donations of non-perishable food items. You can make a monetary donation through the UNLV foundation, or you may bring non-perishables to one of the pantry’s drop-off sites.
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth provides vulnerable young people in Nevada with life-saving resources, including food, clothing, and therapy as well as Independent Living programs and Emergency Shelter. They are currently accepting both monetary donations as well as critical supplies.
For more ideas on how to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 in Las Vegas, you can check out the Las Vegas Weekly’s detailed piece on more ways in which you can help.
The COVID-19 LA County Response Fund is distributing donations between a multitude of local non-profit organizations, addressing varying needs including health, homelessness, education, immigration, and hardship assistance for both families and individuals.
UCSF is also providing support to caregivers and patients throughout Northern California. Gifts are being used to expand testing capabilities across the area, provide financial assistance to patients lacking insurance coverage, provide benefits to health care providers, improve research initiatives, train frontline workers, and ensure patients and caregivers have adequate housing and equipment.
There are myriad ways you can contribute to the global fight against COVID-19. It’s never a bad idea to check on your neighbors, share any excess resources you might have, donate blood, and support the organizations working tirelessly to provide crucial assistance to those in need.
Let us know what your favorite way to contribute is! After all, we’re all in this together.
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Taylor is a creative content strategist originally from the Midwestern U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, Film, and Creative Writing from Lawrence University, where she served as a four-year starter on the university softball team and took on four different positions in Campus Life while pursuing her double degree. With a deep love for collaboration, Taylor hopes to apply her background in community engagement to the digital world in support of local businesses. When she’s not at work, you can find her playing Animal Crossing or hanging out at her current favorite tea shop.