“Look for the helpers,” Mr. Rogers’s mother famously said to him, but as the coronavirus spreads rapidly around the U.S. and the world at large, it’s becoming clear that we all need to become the helpers, as quickly as possible.
Of course, the recommended practice of social distancing is complicating relief efforts; the Centers for Disease Control recommend against visiting loved ones in assisted living or gathering in large groups. As the federal government urges isolation, many people are wondering: how can we extend a hand to those in our communities who are most affected by COVID-19, from senior citizens to restaurant employees out of work?
Luckily, there’s one totally risk-free and safe way to offer succor to those most affected by COVID-19: online donation, which can be done even if you’re unable to leave the house. Below, find a roundup of worthy organizations you can donate to from the safety of home (and if you’re able to, please keep paying housekeepers, child-care professionals, and other domestic workers even if they’re not able to safely service you at the moment.)
Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs across the U.S., has set up a COVID-19 response fund; donations will go toward helping those experiencing hunger, which could soon include an increased number of students who normally rely on school meals as public schools close nationwide.
Meals on Wheels
Center for Disaster Philanthropy
This full-time disaster relief resource is soliciting donations to support healthcare workers, as well as quarantined and especially vulnerable populations. Donations to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy will also support hygiene promotion activities by expanding access to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) resources in areas with poor access to health care.
Service Worker’s Coalition
New York City’s restaurants and bars were ordered to close on Sunday, leaving many workers without wages; to lend a hand, staffers from Andrew Tarlow’s Williamsburg restaurant empire have formed the Service Worker’s Coalition, raising money for sick or quarantined workers. If you can’t deliver groceries in person, you can Venmo them a donation at @bkservicecoalition. (If you’re in a city with no such crowdfunding effort, consider helping local bars and restaurants through this crisis by purchasing merch, gift cards to use at a later date, or simply tipping big on takeout orders.)
Local Homeless Shelters
Don’t forget your unhoused neighbors during this national emergency, even if donating locally requires a little more legwork; the Homeless Shelter Directory provides an extremely helpful state-by-state roundup of shelters. Pick one in your area, and if they don’t have online information available about how to donate, don’t be afraid to call and ask.