Coronavirus – heartwarming ways to support your community during the pandemic
Coronavirus is our new way of life. Normal life feels like a distant memory right now as we navigate our way in this new, alternative reality. So yes, we have to stay home 24/7 to help keep our family, friends, neighbours and wider community safe and we’re living with near constant levels of uncertainty and sometimes even fear. But, as is often the case during challenging times, people are pulling together to support each other, demonstrating how compassionate and kind humanity can be at times like this.
Neighbourhood initiatives are cropping up everywhere in the UK and US and people are using tech and social media to find ways to connect and support others virtually as well as IRL. Hey Saturday is all about enabling people to build stronger connections with others so with this in mind, we thought we’d do a roundup of some of the different ways you can get involved and show your support in both the UK and US.
Artwork created by Giles
Coronavirus and volunteering in the UK
This article from the Guardian is worth checking out if you’re keen to volunteer in the UK. It outlines the government’s guidelines relating to volunteering during isolation.
Support our amazing NHS️
There are two ways you can help the NHS. Firstly, #stayhome and follow their social distancing guidelines to the letter – the absolute best way to save lives. Secondly, you can register to volunteer with the NHS to help vulnerable people stay safe and well at home. Interested to know more? Sign up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder here. Ways to help as an NHS Volunteer Responder consist of helping medical staff with tasks such as: delivering medicines from pharmacies; driving patients to appointments; bringing them home from hospital; and making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.
Covid Mutual Aid
Particularly inspiring are the thousands of Covid Mutual Aid groups, which have emerged in communities across the UK. This has seen many thousands of people signing up and volunteering their time to help others. Simple acts of kindness are everywhere as people offer to pick up shopping and medication as well as check in on people who are self-isolating or struggling to adapt to life in a pandemic. You can find your nearest Mutual Aid Group here.
You could use an app like Nextdoor to see if your neighbours need assistance. If you’re worried about transmitting the virus, you can leave bags on the doorstep. Originally set up as a way to match qualified healthcare workers to care homes who needed staff, the platform is now looking for anyone across the UK who wants to donate their time to helping others.
National Care Force
This organisation is a nationwide network of care providers, healthcare workers and volunteers, ready to support our social care services in looking after the most vulnerable members of society. Head here to find out more and sign up.
Coronavirus and volunteering in the US
This article from Energize includes useful resources for anyone wanting to find out guidelines for volunteering in their area
Dorot – phone calls for elders in New York City
If you’re looking for something you can do from the comfort of your sofa, Dorot, an NYC-based organisation is looking for volunteers willing to make weekly, friendly phone calls to their clients. Their mission is to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and homebound. After a brief orientation webinar and two personal references, you’ll be able to join the battle against the social isolation that impacts some of New York City’s most vulnerable neighbours.
Be My Eyes App – video calls for visually impaired and blind people
I love how lots of charities are embracing tech to help their clients and this means that supporting them during Coronavirus can often continue quite seamlessly. One such charity is the Be My Eyes app. This cool app pairs the visually impaired and blind with volunteers via a video call in order to assist with everyday tasks (things like reading a recipe on the back of a box or selecting a particular article of clothing from the closet). This is a great way to help maintain that person-to-person connection in a safe way.
Pop-up drive-thru food pantry food donations in Los Angeles
Donations are accepted, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Tuesday. The drive-thru food pantry is by-appointment-only on Thursday-Friday for as long as the coronavirus emergency lasts. Northridge Fashion Center, 9301 Tampa Ave. (near California Pizza Kitchen). To support the pantry, or to make an appointment, contact them here.
Food bank volunteers and donations needed in Austin
Central Texas Food Bank anticipates a dramatic increase in the need for their services in the coming weeks, and volunteer operations are still open. You can also donate online and start a virtual food drive; a $25 donation provides 100 meals for families in need.
Central Texas Food Bank
6500 Metropolis, 512/282-2111
Give blood in the US
The American Red Cross are expecting to see a decrease in those eligible (and willing) to donate blood during the Coronavirus epidemic. They are encouraging healthy and eligible individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages. They are emphasising that donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood.
Thanks for reading. Stay safe.
Words by Saskia, artwork by Giles