It might not feel like it, but staying home and social distancing is the best thing you can do to help during this pandemic. But if you want to do more, there are a lot of other options. Here’s a roundup of ways to make a difference, with links to pages that offer much more detailed information.
Get masks to hospital workers
Healthcare workers are in desperate need of N95s, surgical masks, and other protective equipment. Donate any masks you might have in your house, provide funding or materials to businesses that are switching over to mask production, or learn how to make your own if you’re handy with a needle and thread. Find more information here.
The American Red Cross is facing a major blood shortage and is in desperate need of donations. If you’re healthy and able, consider going to a community drive or donation center. Red Cross officials say that donating blood remains safe. Environments will be sterilized to the max, and there’s no way to transfer coronavirus through a blood transfusion. Find more information here.
Pick up groceries for elderly family members and neighbors
COVID-19 is far more fatal for people over 60, so even getting groceries can be risky for senior citizens. If you know someone who might need assistance, reach out and let them know you’re there to help. If you don’t know anyone personally, consider putting a sign up in your apartment building with your contact information so those who need help can have you as a resource.
Help at a drive-thru testing center
Even if you don’t have medical experience, you can still assist at one of the upcoming drive-thru testing centers in DC and Maryland. If you’re over 18, contact the DC or Maryland Department of Health to join their Medical Reserve Corps. Find more information here.
Donate meals to those in need
Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Knead Hospitality + Design have partnered with local nonprofit Martha’s Table to deliver meals to those in need. Called “Food it Forward,” the initiative allows the public to donate money for anywhere from one meal to a month’s worth of food for a family. Find more information here.
Give a virtual tip to restaurant and bar employees
There are a few virtual tip jars and restaurant funds where you can donate money to help restaurant and bar workers who have been put out of work due to closures. Find more information here.
Donate money to help the arts
Local arts organization theatreWashington is organizing a fundraiser to help performers and theaters impacted by coronavirus shutdowns. The donations will go directly into grants for 230 people who have been affected by the crisis. Find more information here.
Donate money to help the global response
Humanitarian organizations like World Vision are working to get protective equipment across the globe to help vulnerable communities in developing nations and countries with high numbers of refugees. Areas with poor health care systems are going to be the ones most severely affected by the pandemic. Find more information here.
Get food to healthcare workers
Astro Doughnuts is delivering food to frontline healthcare workers via their food truck. For every $500 worth of food donated, Astro will add in an additional $100. Find more information here.
Know of more ways to help? Email the author at email@example.com and she’ll add to this list.