While most of us are sheltering in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, simply staying put isn’t the only thing you can do to fight the pandemic. There’s actually quite a lot you can do from home, so we’ve put together a list of websites you can visit to offer a helping hand (and also ensure your donations will get to the right place).
Keep checking back with this page throughout the crisis. We’ll continue to update this list as we hear and verify new legitimate relief efforts through the coming weeks and months.
The easiest way that many of us can contribute to the fight immediately is through cash donations. GoFundMe is the easiest way to find places seeking contributions. The site has set up a page that lists many of the small business relief fundraisers looking for help, which help businesses in a variety of ways. Some help businesses stay afloat through the lockdowns, while others are set up as relief funds for impacted employees.
Another fundraiser called the Frontline Responders Fund aims to assist first responders in both procuring and transporting vital protective gear to where it’s needed most. Among the items that the group is looking to help source are testing kits, thermometers, ventilators, and medicines. They also plan to use some of their funds to serve at-risk communities with food access or other necessities.
But this is only a small portion of all the fundraisers on GoFundMe. Use this link to search thousands of other fundraisers related to Covid-19 relief.
Futhermore, GoFundMe isn’t the only place to go to donate money. As you might have guessed, the American Red Cross is also on the front lines, and you can target your donation to the organization’s coronavirus relief efforts. You can also support relief efforts by shopping from specific brands who have pledged to share their profits with aid organizations.
Another group to check out is World Central Kitchen, which works to ensure that meals are prepared for first responders and disaster-affected communities around the world.
If you’re looking for a crowdfunded project to support, one that caught our eye is this C3 test for Covid on Indiegogo. In as little as four hours, this test has been proven to detect Covid-19 even in patients with no symptoms, with a better success rate than currently available tests. With $1 million in funding, the group says it could increase testing capacity by another 1,000 per day.
Money isn’t the only thing that will help. Donating goods is arguably just as helpful right now.
First and foremost, we’d recommend you consider giving blood. The American Red Cross reports that there is a critical need for blood as a result of coronavirus. It does ask that you give blood at least 28 days after traveling to high-risk areas or contracting or being exposed to COVID-19 itself, however.
If you have extra food in your pantry, consider donating the extra food to your local food bank. With the dramatic increases in unemployment expected over the next few months, there is likely to be a significant increase in the need for food support among the most affected families in our country. The needs of each food bank will vary, and won’t always be solely food. Some food banks accept donations of personal hygiene supplies, too.
If you happen to have a supply of personal protective equipment that you would like to donate, there are several places on the web which you can do just that. Mask Match aims to match those with needs for N95 masks with healthcare providers that need it, while several different sites are helping to centralize requests and donations for all types of personal protective equipment (PPE). We’ve listed those below.
If you have the right equipment, you can also help by sewing cloth masks. These aren’t as effective as the hospital-approved N95 masks that healthcare workers need, but due to the extreme shortage of PPE we’re experiencing, any kind of mask will help at this point. Ultimately, an abundance of sewn cloth masks will help reduce n95 usage by the general public and allow more medical-grade masks to make it to hospitals. Joann fabrics has a great guide for how to make cloth masks at home.
If you have a 3D printer, you can also help by 3D printing face shields. Unlike masks, these don’t filter virus particles out of the air, but they do prevent larger droplets of saliva — on of the main modes by which the virus spreads — from landing on the faces of medical workers. Technically you can’t 3D print an entire face shield because you can’t print that clear plastic part, you can print the headband pieces, pop an elastic band on the back, and voila — you’ve got a fully functional face shield. This one from Prusa Research can be printed in batches of four, while this minimalist one from 3DVerkstan requires very little time and plastic to print, and is actually approved by the National Institutes of Health for clinical use.
If you don’t have the money to donate (which we understand, these are rough times), then consider donating your time. An easy way to do so is to think of your older neighbors. Our seniors are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, so why not ask them if they need assistance? Picking up their prescriptions from the pharmacy or doing their grocery shopping for them are two easy ways to help.
Your assistance might also be needed in a local food kitchen. Use the link we provided above to contact your local food bank and see if there is a need for volunteers to help run your local food bank. You’ll be helping people in need.
Finally, if you’re a retired healthcare worker, consider putting your name in to volunteer your expertise at local healthcare facilities and COVID-19 healthcare facilities. The best way to find out where help is needed is to visit your state’s Department of Health website. Several states are coordinating their pandemic needs at the state level, and your help would be much appreciated.
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