Those of you working in healthcare and essential businesses, you are truly heroes. Those of you leaving your house as little as possible and washing your hands as much as possible, you are also heroes in your own right. Here are 10 ways you can make even more of a positive impact while staying at home (for the most part).
1. Donate what you can
It can be hard to decide where to send money first when there are so many nonprofits doing amazing life-saving work during this pandemic. Here are just a few places to start: PHL COVID-19 Fund, No Kid Hungry, Covenant House, Philadelphia Center for Aging, and Philabundance.
2. Shop for others in need
Project Home’s GroceryLifeLine program and Amazon Wish List make it possible to do shopping for others in need.
3. Make homemade masks or support someone who is making them for others
With masks for sale in short supply, many are turning to DIY. Both Project Home and CoverAid PHL have some resources for how to make masks and a place to donate them you can make extra.
4. Support local makers producing PPE for health care heroes
A team of University of Pennsylvania engineers and social entrepreneurs started Project Shields and are mass-producing PPE for health care workers using 3D printers. Check out cool videos on how it is done and donate to support their efforts.
5. Foster a dog or cat
Thinking it would be nice to spend all that couch time with a new furry friend? Local animal shelters such as ACCT Philly and PAWS need people to foster animals so that the shelters can practice proper COVID-19 safety measures.
6. Volunteer in your neighborhood to help out vulnerable populations
While we don’t encourage going outside if you don’t have to, you might be better off going outside than your elderly neighbor. Check out YourNeighborgood an awesome tech platform created to match Philadelphians who need help with errands during COVID-19 to those of us that can help.
Many local groups like this one in Fishtown are organizing to connect those who need help with those looking to give it. See what you can find online near you or keep your eyes out for signs posted in windows about how to volunteer.
7. Apply for a mail-in ballot
The PA primary has already been moved to June 2nd, but if the thought of touch screen voting machines kind of scares you after all of this, apply to vote by mail. Not registered to vote yet? That can all be done online.
8. Give blood
Looking for a noble excuse to leave the house? Head to your nearest Red Cross Blood Drive and help prevent blood shortages during this time of critical need. Blood drive workers are practicing strict safety protocols and social distancing measures.
9. Support local bars and restaurants
Many of local food and drink spots are offering contactless pickup and delivery methods. For your favorite spots that are closed, see if they are offering gift cards or experiences that you can look forward to when things go back to normal. While you can donate to a restaurant, you can send some money to @PhillyVirtual-TipJar on Vemno and the money will be distributed to industry folks in need.
10. Support local businesses online
Many local brick-and-mortar businesses have scrambled to expand their e-commerce. Check out your favorites local spots on Instagram so see how they have adapted and #treatyourself with some local e-commerce retail therapy.
BONUS - Grab some gloves or a trash picker and do a socially distance block or park clean up!!
Jo is a Board Member for the New Impact Philadelphia Professional Chapter