When you hear the word "donate", your initial thought is probably making a monetary donation to a charity. While there are some organizations that you can donate to in order to provide essential items to people all over the country throughout this time of great need, there are also many ways that you can have a positive impact on those around you without spending too much time or money.
"Feeding America" is an organization that focuses on hunger relief. They use donations to improve local conditions for people who have been heavily impacted by this pandemic. "Feeding America" partners with local school districts to provide food so that students can continue to have access to healthy meals while their school is closed. In addition, this organization distributes emergency food boxes to local food banks, as well as distributes cleaning, hygeine, and personal care products to communities that are in need.
The link to their website can be found here: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
The 100 Million Mask Challenge
This challenge was launched with the goal of providing protective personal equipment to the healthcare workers that are battling Covid-19 on the front lines. There are a few different ways that an individual person can get involved. By going to their website, which can be found below, you can find out how to donate personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, or you can make a monetary donation.
Donating blood is free and not very time-consuming. Due to the virus, many blood banks are experiencing a shortage. According to the American Red Cross (https://www.redcrossblood.org/), one donation can save up to three lives. The only requirements for donating are that you are sixteen years old, weight 110 pounds, and are feeling healthy, making this one of the easiest things you can do to change someone's life.
Donate To Your Local Food Bank
"Feeding America" has a way to locate local food banks near you. With unemployment rates going up, food banks need more donations than ever. Next time you do your grocery shopping, consider picking up a few extra items to help someone in need.
Sew/Donate Masks to Essential Workers in Your Area
If you have some extra fabric and know how to sew, you could easily create masks that can protect yourself, your family members, or any essential workers that you may know. There are tons of easy-to-follow tutorials that can be found on youtube. Here is one really good tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FB--BOyTiU
Volunteer to Run Errands for High-Risk Loved Ones
Do you have grandparents or family members who may have an underlying disease and be considered "high-risk"? One of the easiest ways you can help them is by offering to run their errands while they stay in the safety of their own homes. You can easily pick up their groceries or a meal and leave it on the porch for a contact-less, but helpful delivery.
Pay For the Meal Behind You in the Drive-Thru Line
You never know who could be behind you in the drive-thru line. It could be a grocery store employee taking their well-deserved lunch break, a nurse who has just finished an excruciatingly long shift, or a parent who has just been laid off and is trying to find a cheap meal for their children. Regardless of who is behind you in line, you can always brighten someone's day by offering to pay for their meal. People need things to brighten their days now more than ever.
Write Letters or Make Phone Calls to Your Loved Ones
This one is completely free! During this time of social distancing, a lot of people may be experiencing loneliness. Make sure you are calling to check on your family members and close friends. This one is super easy and seemingly simple, but it can really help someone out who has been feeling down.
Follow All CDC-Recommended Guidelines
This is the most important thing that you can do to play a role in maintaining the health of others in your community. Make sure you are washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and wearing a simple mask when you have to go out in public. Also, don't attend social events or spend time with people who live outside of your home, only leave the house when absolutely necessary, and most importantly- be kind! It is free and easy to not be selfish and participate in practices that will ultimately help your community stay healthy and return to normal faster.