Even if we’re self-quarantined or engaging in some serious social distancing, we’re still a community. And as more and more of us settle into this new normal, we’re bound to find that we’re hungry for ways to feel like we’re making a difference — even as we spend hours on end within the confines of our homes.
COVID-19 IN COLORADO
The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:
- MAP: Known cases in Colorado.
- TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
- WRITE ON, COLORADO: Tell us your coronavirus stories.
- STORY: For diabetes patients, new health threats and cost concerns surface during coronavirus
This list offers some solutions. Some are quite obvious, but others you may not have considered. They’re a compilation of our own ideas here at The Colorado Sun but also reader suggestions — thanks for those and keep ‘em comin’. And they all come with the proviso that any good deed that brings you into proximity with other humans demands that you take all appropriate precautions to protect both yourself and the health of those around you, especially the most vulnerable to the new coronavirus.
The list represents an ongoing process that we’ll continue to update periodically as we become aware of more options for exercising our most generous and selfless instincts. So please, if you have come across ideas you feel are worth sharing, let me know by reaching out to @KevinJourno on Twitter or email@example.com.
Donate to or volunteer with a statewide collection of causes…
Need a quick, one-stop shop for ways to help your neighbors get through this? There are a ton of great options for writing a check or, if you’re healthy, volunteering under the hashtag #DoingMyPartCO. You’ll find them all right here at HelpColoradoNow.org.
Focus your giving on the Denver metro area…
The Denver Foundation has activated its Critical Needs Fund to help with COVID-19 relief, and already has granted $150,000 to four organizations focusing on homelessness and hunger. It’s still researching pockets of need among the area’s most vulnerable population and vetting organizations that could help fill the void.
Support food pantries…
Getting food to the needy will be even more challenging as many smaller food pantries temporarily shut down and social distancing measures hinder distribution. Here’s a list of food banks and pantries across Colorado that could use your help. Remember, dollars and volunteer hours are their greatest need: https://www.foodpantries.org/st/colorado
Healthy donors can still give, and the need is greater than ever. But don’t wait for a mobile campaign, which could be weeks or months away — get on the phone and set up an appointment. Vitalant has eight donation centers across Colorado. (An appointment can be made by calling 303-363-2300). Garth Englund has donation sites in Loveland and Fort Collins. (Call 970-495-8965 to schedule an appointment.) Children’s Hospital Colorado asked people to call to be screened over the phone and make an appointment. (Call 720-777-5398)
Check on your neighbors…
There are a variety of ways to do this, as some of the postings below will show. But maybe start with a phone call or a socially distanced visit to see if folks — particularly those considered most vulnerable to the virus — might need something, particularly if it involves an errand into more populated places like a grocery store.
Buy a gift card…
Whether you purchase a card for yourself or others, this puts cash into the hands of the businesses you’d like to support — right now, when they’re most likely to need it. Then you get to be doubly generous by presenting it to someone else, or revel in the anticipation of using it yourself when all this is behind us. For instance, the website www.helpmainstreet.com makes it easy to go the gift card route in many locations.
Be even more generous with a tip…
Even if you’re ordering take out, where you normally might avoid adding something extra to the bill, consider bolstering the food service workers’ take-home earnings.
… or chip in to or sign up for a virtual tip jar…
This idea has surfaced on social media and seems to be gaining traction. Someone creates a list of service industry staff Venmo (or CashApp or PayPal) handles and then shares them, thereby giving people an opportunity to support workers at local (or faraway) establishments. Here’s one example, that originated in Denver’s City Park neighborhood: 👉 Service industry staff can enter their info here.
👉 And tippers can find the list of workers in need here.
Looking for a bigger service worker fund?
One Fair Wage, which is currently operating in 10 states (including Colorado) plus the District of Columbia, also has a an emergency fund for service workers hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown.
Offer a hand to health care workers…
They may not be losing their jobs, but they’re under incredible stress and likely to work long hours in the weeks and months ahead. See if there’s something you can do to make their lives a bit easier. Or even shovel their snow — you know it’s coming — without asking.
Let Facebook help you do something good…
Becky Christensen was working from home on Friday and going a little stir crazy. She got in touch with a friend in the Denver metro area and together they put together a Facebook page that already has more than 4,000 members ready to respond to folks in need. “Over the weekend, there were some people stuck in their home and we were able to get them milk for their children,” she says. “And last night, there was a family stranded in a hotel room and didn’t have anything to eat for dinner. Within an hour, they had meals and toys for their kids.” Anyone can join and pitch in.
…like helping laid-off workers seek jobs…
By joining this Castle Rock-based FB group that offers writing expertise and other job-seeking skills for free to folks pushed into the job market by the coronavirus.
Seize that “first world” opportunity to make a difference…
Are you fortunate enough to be able to afford someone to help clean your home? Here’s a kind gesture from a reader: “I know that this is very ‘first world,’ but a small contribution that I came up with was to assure the woman who cleans my house that I will continue to pay her even if she has to miss work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis … I feel good about this sign of appreciation for her years of working reliably for us, and her burden of anxiety might be lightened. I am saving money by not going out to restaurants and movies, so it’s not a hardship to keep paying her. With me at home so much now, the housecleaning tasks are easily manageable.”
Remember the pets…
Offer to walk dogs, feed cats or do other chores for friends and neighbors who are health care professionals, first-responders or really anyone who may not be able to give their pets all the attention they normally do, or may be working overtime as the crisis worsens.
To keep yourself local, download the Nextdoor app or go to Nextdoor.com and join your neighborhood’s thread. Discussions run the gamut, but it’s an effective clearinghouse for those who have needs and those who want to help.
Find ways to support local businesses…
Check to see if your local chamber of commerce has a resource like this one in Broomfield, which allows local businesses to let you know if and how they’ll be doing business during the coronavirus shutdown. And then patronize those merchants.
Pitch in toward online learning…
Some school districts will be ramping up quickly to employ online classwork for students, but it’s a pretty massive undertaking that requires both hardware and software. If you live in Jefferson County, the Jeffco Schools Foundation offers the opportunity to donate specifically to a COVID-19 support fund. Check your local district for details.
Share a computer or internet connection…
…With someone you know and trust, of course. Many students will be taking part in online learning, or would benefit from access to resources like the Khan Academy while they’re on extended spring break, but lack the tools to make the connection. And along those lines…
Offer to help a neighbor with technology…
Some of the more vulnerable to the virus are seniors, who might be absolute techno-whiz-kids. But maybe not. Imagine being able to help them video chat with family and friends. There are opportunities here.
Host an online fundraiser…
A local PR firm that has nonprofits as clients offered some helpful ways to pitch in, with an eye toward supporting those organizations that are struggling to fulfill their missions as they sort out this social distancing thing.
Sun readers also offered these observations on both needs and actions:
- “I mean I know it’s a pipe dream and not really feasible but if there was some sort of relief from landlords on commercial properties for small business owners that are affected by this virus I think that could go a long way to saving some business.”
- “Simply look to your neighbors. We have one male who is over 85 years old with lung issues and lives alone. We check in with him daily advising him not to go out and in fact are getting groceries for him.”
- “There is a concerted effort on NextDoor to reach out to neighbors who might be in quarantine and need things urgently, where the asymptomatic neighbors are going shopping on the quarantined neighbors’ behalf. It’s really restoring my faith in humanity and common decency.”
- “Someone just dropped off 2 boxes of used books on the doorstep of my bookstore in Salida. – I don’t think people even realize how much this means to us.”
- “Offer to get groceries for at-risk individuals.”
- “Help an elderly neighbor! Order from your favorite restaurant! Support your local paper! Offer to help with lunches for children in need! Be gentle with each other!”
- “If you know anyone who works in health care, they are about to become very busy and exhausted keeping up with the surge of patients. See what you can do to help them, please.”
- “There’s about to be an avalanche of homeless people.”
- “It can be simple. For example, I live at the east end of the Woodlawn Center shopping district, and the other day I walked around the two-block area and put together a list of what restaurants and services were open, which had websites, which had take-out, which made deliveries, and posted it in the Word of Mouth Littleton FB group. It was much appreciated. It’s the little things, sometimes. Keep up the good work!”
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