Social distancing, quarantine, and self-isolation. Though the terms themselves are not necessarily novel, these few words have quickly become a part of everyday conversation. Vocabulary isn’t the only thing that has been affected by the global pandemic known as the Coronavirus, however. Beyond compromising the health of hundreds of thousands of individuals, the virus has also affected the education, jobs, income, and mental health of many more all over the world.
To help flatten the ever-rising curve of cases, cities, counties, and countries alike have adopted policies that encourage staying at home. But as more shelter-in-place issues are mandated and the number of cases continues to grow, one can only help but wonder what else can be done?
In answer to this question, I have compiled the following list of things you can do to contribute to COVID-19 relief:
1. Give blood.
You might be surprised to know that among all the events being canceled due to social distancing, blood drives are one of them. According to the American Red Cross association, drives “continue to be canceled at an alarming rate,” affecting the lives of countless in critical need of blood donations. The association has gone on to say that as an essential part of community care, donations can still be given and received despite shelter-in-place declarations. As one U.S. Surgeon General put it, “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” Visit redcrossblood.org to find or schedule an appointment today.
2. Join a cult.
But not just any old cult. Join LA influencer Elijah Daniel’s #CULTforGOOD. Born from the values instilled in him at a young age, Daniel’s Cult for Good is a donation and delivery service originally designated to help protect impoverished individuals in the Los Angeles area. Due to the tremendous amount of support the project has already received, however, supplies are set to be delivered to homeless populations in San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and many more cities across the US. There are several ways to get involved in this project. You can donate money, supplies, or simply help spread the word. Cult for Good merch is also available through the Cult for Good website and all profits from each purchase go toward the project. For more information on how to get involved check out cultforgood.com.
3. Donate through crowdfunding.
A quick search on GoFundMe.com reveals thousands of charities seeking donations for COVID-19 relief. Whether you’re passionate about contributing to location-specific emergency funds or monetary donations for medical supplies, GoFundMe hosts aid relief for nearly every interest.* One that particularly caught my attention was Netflix star Angelo Cruciani’s fundraiser for 100 hospital beds for Marche―one of Italy’s most at-risk regions.
*Note: If you’re not in a place to financially give through crowdfunding, consider offering your support by sharing a link. Spreading the word is a small but important way to help out a cause!
4. Support small businesses and independent artists.
It’s no secret that many businesses and artists are suffering due to drastic decreases in income, and the ways in which you can show support are numerous. Here’s a handful of ideas I’ve seen floating around the internet:
- Order takeout or curbside service from your favorite restaurants and cafés.
- Place orders online for products and gift cards from your favorite small shops and stores.
- Consider adopting or fostering from your local shelter to help reduce the possible influx of animals as illness and unemployment are on the rise. This is a win-win scenario because if you choose to relieve someone else’s burden through adoption or fostering, you will also get to experience the stress-relieving benefits that come from owning an animal.
- Help grow your favorite’s following by shouting them out online.
- Simply donate.*
*Note: For more specific steps you can take to support independent artists, check out this vid by YouTuber and Influencer Emma Blackery.
5. Get crafty!
Good with a needle or sewing machine? Now is the time to make your own masks! There are tons of organizations out there that are actively seeking donations of handmade dust masks. Don’t know how to make one? No problem! Jo-ann Fabric and Craft Stores are encouraging creative individuals to put their skills to use during this trying time. By following the instructions outlined in the company’s recent YouTube video, you can create DIY masks to donate back to the store. The crafted items will then be redistributed to hospitals and medical workers in the surrounding area. For more information on how to get involved, check out this nifty news article.
Though not exhaustive, I hope this list has helped spark a few different ideas of ways you or someone you know can help contribute to the COVID-19 relief. Know of any other charities offering their aid during these troubling times? Comment below to help spread the word!