Where to volunteer, donate and be of help during the coronavirus pandemic


Of the myriad stressful and scary things about this moment in history, the immediate, devastating impact on those who work in the arts, at small brick-and-mortar businesses, and within the gig economy is one of the more shocking things to get one’s head around. Nearly two months ago (aka 10 years in COVID time) my sister threw herself a fantastic birthday brunch in the private room at Olmsted and it was a really special (and delicious) afternoon. Shortly after, the people behind Olmsted and Maison Yaki sent out an email to let people know that they were forced to lay off their entire staff of 70 people and have started a disaster relief fund. It’s a nightmare. The one bright spot in it is the reminder that other people really do care, and there has been a flurry of activity to figure out how to get help to those who need it most right now, whether it comes in the form of time, supplies, or cash.

Consider what (if anything) you can contribute. If you are still going out for supplies, consider checking with neighbors who aren’t via Nextdoor or Facebook to see if you can drop anything off for them. A volunteer courier service, Corona Couriers, is accepting volunteers for deliveries. 

Heights and Hills is soliciting volunteers to check in on isolated seniors via phone, and Invisible Hands is a new organization set up specifically to help deliver supplies to those homebound due to the virus. Some other places that could really use some love right now are the Food Bank for NYC GoFundMe, GrowNYC, the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund, NY Common Pantry, the Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund, and Hunger Solutions NY. Of course, one easy way you can help is to continue patronizing the individual indie businesses that are a regular part of your life—take advantage of delivery and takeout services and consider buying gift cards or prepaying where you can. 

Beyond these ideas, Gothamist has a terrific guide for how to help during the Covid-19 crisis. It includes where you can volunteer your services, donate meals or personal protective equipment, and support your local restaurants and shops.

We also have a guide to organizations and restaurants providing meals to healthcare workers, which helps support the restaurant as well.

More ideas for Your Ideal Week here ⇨

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