If you’re like many Americans, you’ve suddenly found yourself with a lot of free time due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. While it can be so easy to go into vacation mode, it’s important for everyone to remember that this is a global crisis that has created an overwhelming need across all areas of society. Unfortunately, due to stay-at-home recommendations and, in many places, shelter-in-place orders, select members of society, such as health care workers, grocery store clerks and first responders, must shoulder that need with little help.
That doesn’t have to be the case though. Young and healthy individuals, and those with ample resources, can step in and ease the burden for overworked populations. Many volunteer efforts can also help to protect the vulnerable members of society, such as the sick and elderly. If you’re looking for ways you can help out during this difficult time, read on for a few different ideas.
Give to Nonprofits That Help With Medical Costs
Many nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance to low-income individuals who cannot afford health insurance, prescription medications, deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Others have established coronavirus relief funds, the donations from which go toward medical supplies and delivering essential items to older individuals and families in need. Donating money or items to any nonprofit devoted to the medical cause can go long way toward easing the financial burden and stress for many sectors and families across the globe.
The Red Cross has recently reported a “severe” blood shortage due to mass cancellations during the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, the nonprofit is also concerned that as the number of COVID-19 cases increase, the number of eligible donors will grow fewer and fewer. Though governments are highly discouraging and even penalizing nonessential travel outside of the home, Red Cross and other blood banks are asking healthy individuals to come out and donate blood. The Red Cross and other banks have put precautions in place to protect donors, such as checking each person’s temperature at the door, keeping donors 6 feet apart, wearing gloves and disinfecting surfaces on a frequent basis.
Donate Money, Food and Your Time
With mandates to close non-essential businesses, school closures and projected unemployment rates, food banks across the nation are preparing for an influx in the demand for food. Among the needy include elderly individuals, families that rely on school meals for their children and hourly and low-income workers.
Helping feed families doesn’t have to require a significant time or monetary investment on your part. Donating just $1 can provide as many as five meals, depending on the food bank in question.
You can also donate canned or dry goods to a food bank, such as pasta and dried beans, or you can send food to a family in your community that you know is in need. Many food banks have also expressed a need for volunteers, so if you’re in the low-risk demographic, consider signing up for shifts.
Support Local Businesses
The economy as a whole is hurting right now, there is no denying that. However, small businesses have been hit the hardest, especially those in the food and hospitality industries. You can help lessen the blow by ordering takeout from local restaurants, purchasing gift cards to use at a later date and buying restaurants’ cookbooks online. The concept behind taking these measures is that the cash infusion now will help those businesses weather the storm. You can also purchase from local boutiques that have online shops, or purchase gift cards to your favorite nail salon. Thanks to the internet, there are dozens of ways you can continue to shop small even when you’re forced to stay home.
Now more than ever, society needs to band together to help where they can. If you want to contribute while you’re off work, consider doing any or all of the above. Just keep yourself safe while doing it.