How to help the sick, the hungry, others in need during the COVID-19 pandemic

A blood donation (Pranidchakan Boonrom/Pexels stock image)

As numbers continue to rise in relation to this new coronavirus, COVID-19, that continues to sweep the globe, it might be natural for some of us to think of other people right about now.

If you’re not sick, what can you do for someone else? How can you help a person in need?

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We gathered the following ideas.

Check with your local community first: Who needs assistance?

Local food banks and school districts are great places to contact first.

Many already have systems in place, for example, districts that are working to get meals to children home from school.

But there might still be a group that could use your help.

Look up the name of your city on Facebook and see if you have a community page or group. This would be a great place to start, or you could try calling 211.

Finally, check out this Feeding America website, where you can type in your ZIP code and find/contact your nearest food bank.

But if you really want to help feed the hungry, visit this website.

“America’s kids need us. Millions of vulnerable children are losing the healthy meals they depend on as the coronavirus closes schools nationwide. No Kid Hungry has a plan to feed them, but we need your help.”

Yes, it’s a group called No Kid Hungry -- and it appears to be the perfect place place to turn.

Your support can help the organization in the following ways:

  • Work with federal and local government to support children in need.
  • Provide emergency grants to food banks and community groups.
  • Divert resources to help the hardest-hit communities.
  • Make sure families know how to find meals while schools are closed.
  • Continue our work to ensure every kid gets three meals a day.

“As the situation evolves, we’re tailoring our response to meet communities’ changing needs. This is what No Kid Hungry does every day, both in times of crisis and not. Nearly 22 million children rely on the meals they receive at school. With your help, we’ll continue to remove any obstacles to get kids the food they need," the group’s website said.

Donate blood.

We can’t stress this one enough: The American Red Cross needs you.

Read that line again: “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

Here’s another tweet from earlier in the week:

Don’t be nervous about giving blood.

If you’re a healthy, eligible person who is feeling well to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent a shortage, then you should do it. The Red Cross issued a news release about its need for blood on March 10.

"We’re asking the American people to help keep the blood supply stable during this challenging time. As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services. “As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most.”

Look at these numbers.

The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process -- or from attending blood drives.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood," said Dr. Peter Marks, Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Read more of his comments by clicking or tapping here.

Don’t just assume there’s nowhere open to donate. Visit this link and we think you’ll find it very easy to make an appointment.

Urge action on any bills that might benefit your community.

Although this one -- H.R. 6201, also known as “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” -- was just signed by the president, there might be more soon that need our attention.

H.R. 6201, which President Trump signed Wednesday, responds to the coronavirus outbreak by “providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.”

Further aid packages will likely be on the table in the coming weeks.

Now or ever, if you want to contact your elected officials, urge change or show your support for a bill, here’s a good jumping-off point.