Even if staying home is one of the most important ways non-essential workers can help stop the spread of the coronavirus, it can feel crazy not to be doing anything productive right now. If you’re healthy and symptom-free, there are plenty of organizations that are looking for volunteers, plus, there are a few activities you can even do from home, like sewing cotton face masks or surgical caps. We’ve rounded up some of the organizations that are doing important work right now, for anyone who wants to contribute their time and energy to the support relief efforts, in New York, Los Angeles, and around the country.
New York Cares is an organization that partners with more than a thousand nonprofits around the city, making volunteer work easy and organized for anyone who wants to get involved. They have plenty of opportunities available (particularly packing and distributing food for homebound seniors and others in need) for those in the city who want to help with coronavirus relief efforts, even if it’s just for a few hours.
Masks4Medicine is a collective of healthcare workers who have come together to help coordinate emergency PPE production and donation in New York City. Via their Instagram account, they’ve linked to tutorials for sewing masks and surgical caps and making plastic face shields. If you have a sewing machine and some extra unused fabric sitting around, you can do your part.
NYC Service is a local government-backed online portal for volunteer opportunities around the city. All you have to do is enter your zip code and area of interest, and it will list any high-need organizations that are looking for extra help.
Meals on Wheels is a national network of more than two million volunteers who deliver warm meals to seniors in need. All you have to do is enter your name, email and zip code and the organization will match you with a local provider, whom you can reach out to directly to coordinate based on current needs.
This Los Angeles-based organization aims to raise awareness and funds for separated and reunified families at the United States-Mexico border. To aid those impacted by the coronavirus, they’ve instated the Border Health Fund, which addresses the health needs of those at the border. Illnesses at border facilities spread quickly and with relative ease due to the close quarters of those being held there. Until April 30, This Is About Humanity will match all donations to the Border Health Fund up to $50,000.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has shifted its strategy and donation structure in the wake of the coronavirus—through an emergency fund, animal welfare groups who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive direct donations from the public. Click here to donate, or, if you’re New York-based, the Upper East Side adoption center is still up and running. The organization has limited staff caring for the animals, but needs increased fostering and adoption in addition to financial assistance.
If you’re lucky, you’re bored at home right now. New York City’s homeless population is suffering this pandemic in ways most of us cannot comprehend. The Bowery Mission is just one of the city’s organizations still working to aid the homeless by providing hot meals, offering showers and clean clothing on a limited basis, and distributing hygienic supplies. As recently as yesterday, volunteers suited up in face masks and surgical gloves to deliver food for the homeless. You can join in, or donate—Bowery Mission is looking for either cash or food-based donations: grab-and-go meals (like pre-packaged sandwiches and salads,) pre-packaged snacks, bottled water, and canned goods.