The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is being felt throughout the communities where we live and work. Many of us are feeling powerless and isolated in its wake. One of the best ways to overcome those feelings is to find a way to make a difference in your community. Here are some general suggestions to get you started, along with a list of community organizations in need of help.
Older adults, those with chronic conditions or disability, and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus and should avoid public settings. They still need food and necessary medicines, though, as well as social interaction. Before you venture out to the grocery store or pharmacy, or place your online food delivery order, reach out to see if they have any immediate needs for food or medicines. If they’re feeling lonely, make it a point to call, text, email, or video chat with them, or arrange a time when you might visit them – at a safe distance, and preferably, staying outside.
Food insecurity is a significant concern as schools, which often serve as a food lifeline for students in need, are closed, and many families are struggling due to the loss of a job or reduced hours as a result of coronavirus.
There is an urgent need for blood donations, so if you’re healthy, and especially if you’re young, the U.S. Surgeon General is urging you to give blood. Blood centers have instituted extra safety measures and are observing social distancing guidelines to help ensure your safety.
People with limited means, diminished mental or physical capacity, or those who do not have health insurance must feel especially vulnerable during this COVID-19 crisis. Consider donating funds to the local organizations that exist to serve this population.
Masks, face shields, disposable gowns/shoe covers, and ventilators are in extremely short supply, and health care workers are deeply concerned about contracting the virus or exposing their families to it. Do you have any of these items at your home or business that you could donate? If so, contact your local hospital to see if they are accepting donations, or consult this webpage. New York State has created a listing of products and services that can support the statewide response.
Because of government directives aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus, many businesses deemed “nonessential” have had to close. Others, like restaurants, have had to limit their offerings to take-out meals (for “no-contact” delivery or pick-up). Consider ordering take-out or purchasing gift cards that can be used when they are permitted to reopen.
This may be an opportune time to adopt or foster an animal, not only to help reduce the increased strain on animal shelters and rescue organizations, but to alleviate your own feelings of loneliness during this difficult time. Shelters are experiencing increased demand to care for pets as their owners are fighting illness or hospitalized. Likewise, as people shelter in place, donations of food and supplies may be dwindling. Check with your local shelter or rescue organization to see how you can support them during this crisis.
CDPHP has compiled the following list of organizations that directly support children, adults, families, and animals throughout upstate New York. Links are provided with information about immediate needs and services provided during the coronavirus crisis.
This is only a partial list of nonprofit organizations that are offering services or in need at this difficult time. If you are part of an organization with an urgent need, or are looking to spread the word about the services you are currently providing, please contact us with your organization’s name, location, your immediate need, and a link to your organization’s website.
*This blog was co-written by Gregory Fry and Adele O’Connell.
Greg joined CDPHP® in February 2018 as a communications specialist. Originally from Philadelphia, Greg moved to upstate New York in 2007, and married his wife, Julia, in 2013. For 12 years, Greg worked in radio and print journalism roles, and has received multiple state and regional broadcasting awards for his role as an on-air anchor, and for his coverage of breaking news. Greg also brings a background in working with nonprofit organizations, having served in various marketing and fundraising roles in the Finger Lakes.
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