COVID-19: How to help with emergency needs
The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind, and there are a lot of emergency needs in our communities right now.
The biggest emergency need is getting food to people who need it.
Nearly 40 million Americans experience food insecurity during normal times, but now even more Americans need a little bit of help. Many have been laid off, or are unable to go to work, and seniors and other high risk people should be staying home as much as possible.
This means that nonprofits are working on overdrive to meet their needs.
There are a lot of people who want to help, and we are so excited to see all of the community organizing happening right now. But we need to organize efficiently. We want to send people to the experts, to the nonprofits who already have the infrastructure, expertise, and client base to serve.
How can I meet emergency needs during COVID-19?
The first thing to do is figure out if you should be volunteering, or helping from the safety and comfort of your home.
If you can volunteer, nonprofits are taking small groups (10 or less) to help meet emergency needs. Find ideas of how to help below.
If you live in Ohio, you can open POINT to find a volunteer opportunity and sign up, right from your phone.
Help pack meal kits at a local food bank
Food banks (and most nonprofits in general) typically rely on an older, retired volunteer force. But since they need to put their health and safety first and stay home, nonprofits are scrambling. POINT reached out to hundreds of nonprofits, and found most are at 40% of their normal volunteer capacity, but need for their services has increased by over 50%. Open the app to find and sign up for shifts to help out.
Deliver meals to people in need
If you don’t want to interact, you can pick up meals and drop them off at the homes of the elderly—no in-person interaction required. Plus, it’s an excuse to get out of the house!
The Gladden Community House is expanding their senior meal delivery program, and you can sign up on POINT. Win-win.
If you can’t volunteer in person, there are more ways to help.
Donate money to local food banks
Monetary donations go much further than food donations. Food banks often get discounts, and they know exactly what is needed and how much. Find a local food bank on POINT and donate right from the app. You literally don’t even need to put down your phone, or leave the couch.
Donate cleaning supplies to nonprofits that need it
Many nonprofits serve at-risk people like sick kids, the elderly, or people with chronic conditions. Places like NC4K could use brand new wipes, sanitizers, and other cleaning supplies.
Social distance yourself, and make sure your friends & family do the same
We’re all talking about it, and it TRULY is important. While emergency volunteers are desperately needed, the most important thing any of us can do is reduce our contact with others as much as possible. COVID is highly transmittable, and even if you don’t feel sick, you can be a disease vector who transmits it to others. If you have traveled, live with seniors/children/medical staff, or feel at all sick, PLEASE protect others by staying home. You can #domoregood from your couch.