6 Ways to Make a Difference During the COVID-19 Crisis

By October 21, 2020 Blog

This Saturday, October 24, is Make a Difference Day, and there are so many ways to give back and help others in need. Volunteering has proven to make people happier and healthier. Especially now, with social distancing, it is a great way to strengthen your community and create new bonds. Finding ways to give back during COVID-19 can help lower anxiety and stress, benefit your mood, and keep you busy during this challenging time.

As we watch the coronavirus on a global level, it can be easy to feel powerless. But, no matter who you are or where you are, you can make a difference. There are many ways to get involved during this time, from donating money or supplies to volunteering virtually to checking in on friends, family, and neighbors. Here are some ways to help and give back during the pandemic.

1. Start with your community

The easiest way to give back is to reach out to the ones closest to you. Friends, neighbors, fellow Compass scholars, and family can always benefit from a friendly video chat, letter, or email. Never underestimate the powerful influence that you can make just by checking in on someone. Start with those you know who may be feeling vulnerable right now. This could be your elderly neighbor, a local business owner, or your friend who suffers from anxiety and depression. Being there for others during this time is one of the best ways to be of service. And it can help decrease your concerns as well and give you an emotional boost.

2. Make a donation

Many people may not have extra funds right now, but if you do, you may want to consider donating to an organization that is helping those affected by the pandemic. Some organizations include hospitals, health centers, and national or local charities that provide financial assistance, food, or shelter.

You can purchase gift cards from your favorite local stores or restaurants during this time to help them stay in business. Or order meals online or over the phone for curbside pick up. Meals on Wheels is an organization that delivers food to older people. They are experiencing a surge in demand as health guidelines recommend that senior citizens stay at home as much as possible.

3. Donate without spending money

  • Food. You can help your local food banks by donating non-perishables like peanut butter, canned goods, pasta, rice, and beans.

  • Supplies. It can be challenging to find items like paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. If you have extra, you can contact your local food banks, businesses, and neighbors to see if they are in need. 

  • Clothing. Many nonprofit locations that have closed during this time are still accepting donations by mail. Spending more time at home could give you additional time to clean out your closet and give away clothes or items you no longer wear. These clothes may come in handy for families that are struggling to get by. Check with your local shelters, Goodwill, or The Salvation Army.

4. Give blood

The Red Cross is facing shortages at this time due to quarantine guidelines. As coronavirus cases increase, the number of eligible donors has decreased. The Red Cross and other blood banks remain open with safety precautions in place. If you have a blood type or platelet type that is highly needed, you may want to consider making a trip to a local blood bank. 

5. Express gratitude

Services such as Health Hero Hotline allow us to leave personal messages of appreciation and support to our healthcare workers. Call 877-226-HERO, (4376). Also, in many communities, people gather at their windows or front doors at certain times of day to cheer on healthcare workers starting or ending their shifts, which is incredible.

6. Practice social distancing and self-care

The simple effort to follow public safety guidelines and stay home as much as possible can make a huge difference. Avoid high-risk areas and activities, and you will lower your chances and others of getting sick. Sometimes simple steps such as these can make all the difference. It is also critical to only share credible resources from the CDC or the state department of health. Also, staying calm and helpful during this time can encourage others to follow in your footsteps. 

We have included some local California resources where you can give back: 

Food Banks, Pantries and Kitchens

Many food banks and pantries rely on a volunteer workforce partially made up of seniors. Now, some agencies are looking for younger people to step in. Find your nearest food bank in this directory and ask about volunteer options. You can also donate to help food banks continue their mission.

For children: Defending the Cause

Foster youth and family services agencies across the region are looking for diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, coloring books, children’s clothing, and pantry items. You can donate here.

Wind Youth Services

This nonprofit group provides emergency shelter, counseling, and meals to youth experiencing homelessness. They’re continuing to do so during COVID-19, with some changes. They’re accepting financial donations here.

The United Way’s Pandemic Relief Fund

Supports L.A. County’s unsheltered residents, low-income individuals, students, and families at imminent risk of homelessness and hardships due to coronavirus’s health and economic impacts.

California Restaurant Association Foundation

This industry group has an established emergency assistance fund called Restaurants Care that it uses to help restaurant workers in crisis times, such as during natural disasters. Go here to put money toward food, child care, or housing for a restaurant worker, or here to apply for aid.

Onward CA

This coalition of companies and foundations is set up to help workers displaced by COVID-19 get back on their feet as soon as possible. Find help with life essentials and employment guidance here.

The Mask Project

This group is collecting crowdfunding to purchase and deliver medical masks to hospitals. Find more information here.

Support other nonprofits in California.

No matter how big or small, you can make a difference. Make Compass proud and go onward in your community and make a loud and proud difference in any way that you can. Compass scholars are incredible, and as a Compass Family, we are here for you every step of the way. 

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