How to Help Your Neighbors
This is a difficult time that calls for people to come together more now than ever. But, with so many of us practicing social distancing, it can be unclear as to how to help others from afar.
Well, a great place to start is by supporting local community initiatives. Do your part to flatten the curve, and check out how, if you have the means, you can help your neighbors.
And remember: elbow bump your buddies, stay six feet apart, and wash your hands thoroughly—with warm water, lots of soap, and an extra dose of vigor.
What can you do?
Research what date your state’s WIC program is replenished and try to hold off shopping until a few days after. WIC provides government assistance to expectant mothers or those with young children and waiting a few days after their benefits are replenished helps ensure that they will get the groceries they need. Another way to be mindful is before you put something in your cart, check the tag on the shelf to see if WIC is written on it. WIC benefits can only be used for approved items, so even if it isn’t your favorite brand, opting for another item that doesn’t say WIC on the tag is helping out your neighbor who needs that specific product.
Call your friends and family. Teach your older relatives how to work video chats and reach out to friends that fell to the wayside due to busy schedules or long distance.
If you can, give to organizations and people in need. We’ve gathered some recommendations below that you can support and help you brainstorm those in your community that you can positively impact.
Others Doing Good
Food Services and Other Necessities:
For the New Yorkers:
By giving $5 to Citymeals, a reliable non-profit that has served over 60 million meals since 1981, your donation will go towards nourishing 200,000 home-bound elderly with nutritious meals and shelf-stable goods.
You can volunteer with Invisible Hands, a nonprofit started by two new yorkers in their twenties, that brings groceries to the most at risk in the city. If you are unable to volunteer, they are also accepting donations.
For the Texans:
As a pioneer in the history of community-based senior nutrition organizations, Meals on Wheels Central Texas division is on the front lines, attacking the rising swell of “senior hunger and isolation”.
Central Texas Food Bank is another fine choice, having devoted their shelves to assembling free, grab-and-go meals for families. A few hours away, their sister organization North Texas Food Bank in Dallas is fighting just as hard to close the widening hunger gap. With both facilities recently becoming overwhelmed by the increased demand, they could use your help now more than ever.
Baby2Baby is collecting monetary donations to support families across the country. They provide diapers, wipes, and other necessities for infants and young children.
The IRC is helping in the US and abroad, focusing on refugees and people in crisis. Check out what they are doing on their website for specific areas affected by the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation is raising money for service workers who have been affected by COVID-19. 50% of the money raised goes to direct relief for individual restaurant workers, 25% goes to nonprofit that are serving restaurant workers in crisis, and 25% is for zero-interest loans to get restaurants up and running again.
If you need help but you don’t know where to turn, go to Aunt Bertha. Type in your zip code and the search will populate most of the registered nonprofits and organizations in your area that offer free or reduced cost services like medical care, groceries, job training, and more
For the New Yorkers:
Due to the closing of the Theatre District and other stages and music venues, many creatives are trying to find alternative avenues for their art and income. Luckily, crowdsourcing campaigns like the Indie Theater Relief Fund are stepping up “to provide emergency and preventative resources to those at financial risk”. You can’t go wrong donating to The Mayer Foundation and the New York Artist Foundation either, two organizations making a big difference through economic relief grants to artists and small businesses.
You can check out this blog as well, which includes a comprehensive list of resources “designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community”.
For the Texans:
SXSW’s cancellation has deeply affected countless vendors, musicians, and businesses in the area. From the safety of your couch (a noble deed in the name of social distancing!), break out the laptop and donate to I Lost My Gig, an Austin-based fund handing out basic relief packages to victims of the festival’s cancellation.
Another GoFundMe combating the fallout of SXSW is the Banding Together initiative. Started by the Red River Cultural District, the crowdsourcing campaign is on a steady path to reaching the halfway mark of its $100,000 goal—so please, if you have the means, be a part of that push!
Freelancers banded together to launch their own digital TV network that features artists and musicians. Besides the flat $100 that the artists earn for performing for an hour, everyone tuning in to Our House has the opportunity to tip the creatives as well. An ingenious solution to a daunting problem.
Your Local Blood Drive:
It's not only cash donations that would help make any difference. Think outside of the wallet. With everyone staying indoors, there has been a dip in blood donations. Medical professionals are asking for volunteers to provide blood, which is still crucial to daily hospital function. To make an appointment with the Red Cross, click here if you’re a New Yorker, here if you’re an Austinite, and here if you’re a Plano-native or Dallasite.
Many medical facilities are running low on personal protective equipment. #Findthemasks tells you what hospitals need and where you can donate any masks or gear that workers can use to protect themselves.
Mutual Aid Campaigns:
For the New Yorkers:
This mutual aid database and index of resources are just a couple of dozens of crowdsourced databases created by New Yorkers, compiling helpful links and tips from Facebook Groups to relief funds and more.
For the Texans:
There are plenty of mutual aid coalitions in Texas, too! Aid your fellow Texans with donations to organizations like North Texas Mutual Aid, San Antonio Mutual Aid, Primrose Community Care, Aid Network of Denton County, and Corpus Christi Mutual Aid.
What Neighborhood Goods is Doing:
As you know about us by now, we care about the brands we work with, their stories and the teams that help them bring to life. Shopping your favorite brands during this time can be an impactful way to support their continued commerce and the people behind it. To help, we're partnering with Shopping Gives. All purchases at neighborhoodgoods.com now generate some social good. We're providing donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund on 2% of all purchases. Our Neighborhood Goods line drives 10%. This equally divides donations across UNICEF USA, United Nations Foundation Inc., CDC Foundation, and Feeding America. No action needed on your end. It's included in your transaction. We handle the rest.
We hope you’re staying safe and that these resources, including our own, will help you keep it all good in the neighborhood.