How you can help during the coronavirus pandemic

Mar 18 2020, 11:59 am

The coronavirus pandemic has radically transformed so many aspects of Americans’ day-to-day lives, and while it may be easy to feel hopeless in an event like this, what we need more than ever right now is to help one another.

If you are able to, there’s also no shortage of ways you can help others, and yourself, not feel helpless at a time like this.

Connect with a friend

In a time where we are all being asked to stay home, some are saying it may be better to call it physical distancing instead of social distancing, to encourage you to stay connected with friends and family in other ways, especially with how uncertain things have been for people in a variety of professions.

Text chats are effective and quick, but there is a limit to how long someone can go without talking to or seeing another person when isolated. Luckily, there are great options for online video and voice calls so you don’t run up your phone bills.

Here are six free video and voice call apps available online — and how to get them.

Don’t underestimate the power of picking up the phone and checking in on someone you know.

Donate to a food bank

Food Banks Canada anticipates a shortage of food and supplies across the country due to increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, food banks will likely be strapped for volunteers as people adhere to social distancing advice and stay home.

Food Banks Canada CEO Chris Hatch is encouraging Canadians to make monetary donations online so their local food banks can re-stock on essential items to get clients through this trying time.

The national organization is trying to raise $150 million as food banks across Canada shift to pre-packed food hampers for delivery to minimize contact between clients and volunteers.

Donate Blood

According to the American Red Cross, there has been a spike in appointment cancelations amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite the continuing need for the donations by patients.

“The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancelations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.,” said a release from the American Red Cross.

The organization says it is still safe to donate blood because of thorough cleaning and infection control procedures at all facilities.

“At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection.”

If you are healthy and able to donate blood, that is one way you can help others during this trying time, and more information can be found online.

Support a local business

You can support local businesses that may be struggling due to a lack of business by buying gift cards online or ordering takeout to support them.

DoorDashUber EatsGrubHub, and Postmates all have a plethora of local spots on their roster right now, and we know a few restaurants that don’t normally offer takeout/delivery have started offering these services temporarily, such as addo and Canlis.

If you can’t make it into a spot to eat or shop, consider buying a gift card online at a local boutique or eatery to use at a later time as an alternative.

Stop hoarding supplies

Numerous government officials have made it clear in press conferences in the last few days that there is no shortage of food and supplies on hand for residents. Think of the seniors, the parents of young children, and immunocompromised folks who may not be able to rush in to get everything they need before the shelves are completely wiped out. As of right now, there’s no need to overstock supplies.

Donate to the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has developed a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the coronavirus.

According to the WHO, the fund enables the organization to:

  • Send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers
  • Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.
  • Ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.
  • Accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments

If this is something you have the means to do, it’s a way you can feel like you’re making a difference.

Do the “Stay at Home Challenge”

Social media has been particularly abuzz, with people sharing how they are living during this time of social distancing, including the #StayatHomeChallenge on Twitter. Whether you’re taking to Twitter, IG, or even Tik Tok, go ahead and laugh at the shenanigans people are up to while safely isolated within their homes — including raising a toast to themselves or juggling a roll of toilet paper.

With files from Megan Devlin