During these weeks of social distancing and self-isolation, there are ways we can help others from the safety of our homes. Here are a few ideas provided by CNN, Consumer Reports, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.
Mail Cards and Notes to the Isolated Elderly
With the elderly being at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, many who live in nursing homes and senior care facilities are under lockdown and not able to see family or friends. Contact your local senior centers and let them know you’d like to send cards or notes to the residents. Ask what’s the best way to accomplish this and where to send the cards and notes. (CNN)
Check on Neighbors and Friends
Call them. Find out if they’re ok and if they need anything. Offer to do things like mow, trim, take the garbage out, or bring in the mail. Do they need someone to go buy their groceries? Help with that task or order groceries that get delivered to their doorstep. (CNN)
Consumer Reports wrote that as of April 1, nearly 13,000 of the American Red Cross’s blood drives were canceled across the country. This resulted in 375,000 fewer blood donations.
Consider donating blood if you are healthy. Obviously you’ll have to leave the house to do this. The Red Cross assures that strict safety precautions are taken at all donation centers.
Plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may be especially helpful for treating patients who are seriously ill with the disease. (CR)
Care for Animals
Many animal shelters are dealing with staffing shortages due to coronavirus. The remaining skeleton crews must still care for all the animals. Call your local animal shelter and see what help you can give. Fostering animals may help relieve the care burden until the pandemic has passed and all staff members have returned. (CR)
Help Out Food Banks
Food banks around the country are experiencing much higher demands than usual. Many have fewer volunteers to help distribute food because they are staying at home. If you’re healthy, consider volunteering at a local food pantry while practicing social distancing. Instead of donating groceries, contribute money. (LAT)
Depending on your area of greatest interest, you can find multiple avenues through which to send money. CNN.com compiled a list of donation entities divided by category: arts and culture, seniors and people with disabilities, meals and food support, homeless communities, medical efforts, mental health, refugees and international relief, restaurants and food workers, service workers, and small businesses. Click here to see CNN.com’s guide. (CNN)
Order Takeout or Delivery from Local Restaurants
Help keep your local restaurants from going under by ordering takeout or delivery. You could also buy restaurant gift cards online to use on-site later when the pandemic is over. Supporting local restaurants will help them stay afloat and continue to pay their employees. (NYT)
Thanks to the writers at The New York Times, Mayra Cuevas, Chris Dawson, Jennifer Grubb, and AJ Willingham at CNN, Scott Medintz and Laura Murphy at Consumer Reports, and Nicole Santa Cruz at Los Angeles Times for the information in this blog.