Three Ways to Help During the Coronavirus Outbreak
To fight COVID-19, Congress and the president have put into law multiple economic relief packages totalling well over $2 trillion as Americans stay at home and most businesses remain closed. This aid was passed with bipartisan support and was seen as a desperate lifeline to an economy that is now heading for recession as more than 26 million Americans signed up for unemployment benefits over the last several weeks. Part of the relief bill is a direct check of $1,200 to single Americans who make an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000. If you are married, filing jointly, then you will get $2,400 if your income is less than $150,000. By all means, use this money if you need it for vital bills such as afford rent or groceries. However, if you and your loved ones can do without the check, you might consider donating part or all of it to a charity that works with medical professionals or helps those who just lost their jobs. Conservatives and libertarians rightly believe in private giving, so why not put those principles into action?
1. Local Food Banks
Strongly consider supporting your local food bank. By now, you have likely experienced lines at grocery stores and occasional shortages due to hoarders and stress on the supply-chain. Now imagine that you are a poorer family or an elderly person with limited income that normally struggles with groceries or that relies on the food bank. Further imagine realizing that now these places—grocery stores and food banks—are being swamped with people who are panicking or who are newly unemployed. Also think about the fact that people who might normally donate their time or money to a food bank might cease to do so as they worry about their jobs or don’t want to be exposed since many volunteers are older and semi-retired. Finally, there are also those who, because of disabilities or underlying risks from, say, autoimmune conditions, may rely on others volunteers to deliver their food—and remember that not everyone can afford to turn to Instacart. This is the dire situation many Americans find themselves in through no fault of their own. They may have been climbing their way out of poverty or were doing okay but now they may have lost income or seen their food bank get overwhelmed. Find a food bank in your area to help out and ask if they need money or volunteers. For instance, one good one in the DC-area is the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
2. Direct Relief
Direct Relief is a reputable international nonprofit that works to bring medical supplies and assistance to the most hard-hit areas around the world. They are unique in that they support people on the front lines in America but also in other countries such as China. This is good since every country, including the United States, needs assistance with this pandemic. So far, Direct Relief has delivered 1.38 million masks, 2.52 million gloves, 307 oxygen concentrators, and lots of other equipment. Moreover, Direct Relief does not have some of the reputation and top-heavy salary problems as other international organizations. According to the rating organization Charity Navigator, Direct Relief scores 100 on accountability and transparency and 97.50 on their finances. In addition, Direct Relief is well regarded by two other ratings organizations, GuideStar and Charity Watch.
Other organizations to consider supporting include, Save the Children, Project C.U.R.E., Crisis Aid International, the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, and Catholic Relief Services.
3. Blood Drives
Finally, if you are unable to part with some of your anti-coronavirus check, consider donating blood through the Red Cross, which has a donation center locator. Hospitals especially need blood right now and the Red Cross is looking for donors. In fact, the FDA recently loosened donation restrictions to ensure that more people will give. Remember that fewer people are donating because they’re afraid of going outside and getting infected, making the emergency need for blood during this pandemic even worse.
While giving blood will help a lot, only donate if you are healthy—with zero symptoms of being sick—and don’t have underlying health conditions that put you at risk. (One important disclaimer is that I’m not a medical professional. So if you have any specific questions, contact the blood donation center or your doctor.)
These are three ways that you can be helpful during a time of national and global crisis. We are all in this together and human beings must support each other as we wage war on COVID-19.