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Millions of people cannot afford food at this time. How you can help with coronavirus relief


You can donate food, money and more.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 26 million people in the US have filed for unemployment assistance in the past five weeks as the coronavirus pandemic closes businesses and keeps most residents in house ]. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, 37 million people in the U.S. struggled to find enough to eat, according to Feeding America. Now food banks report that they have so few staples that they may need to ration their supplies. People who previously did not depend on food aid would reportedly also need more, and lines of cars for miles. seem to have appeared, as some wait for hours to get food.

Great need for food aid during the COVID-19 outbreak is only one effect of the economic and social effects of the corona virus. Local hospitals and blood banks are also faltering as they face an urgent shortage of N95 face masks and the delivery of blood donations.

It's easy to feel helpless, but there are ways to donate safely and volunteer – from making money donations (some employers will even match them) to remote volunteering. Do you know of other ways to help? Share them in the comments below.

For additional resources, here's how to find food aid now, what to do if you can't afford rent or your car bills and what you need to know about American stimulus controls that are now going out that could entitle you to up to $ 1,200 .

Food banks: donate money and food, volunteer

With school closings shutdowns of non-essential businesses and escalated unemployment food banks across the country are growing in demand seen food aid. Many, such as the New York City Food Bank, urgently post requests for donations and volunteer hours – carefully. Seniors, families dependent on school meals and low-income or hourly workers are the most affected groups.

A $ 1 donation usually yields between two and five meals, depending on the food bank. Feeding America is another resource for food banks across the country seeking financial support as part of its response to COVID-19.

You can also donate canned or other shelf-stable foods, such as dried beans and pasta, but first check the protocols at your local food bank. For example, the SF Marin Food Bank asks that you use your own collection containers and that you personally deliver the food to one of its warehouses. It does not collect donations at this time.

Food banks and soup kitchens also need volunteers to pack and serve food and clean the facilities. If you are in a low-risk demographic and are not in contact with people over 60 and those with underlying health problems, signing up for services (with the right precautions) is an important way to help.

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Hospitals need face masks, hand sanitizer and more.

Hospitals have almost no personal protective equipment and need items such as N95 respirators disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and liquids, soap, goggles and disposable gloves. If you have one of these items at home or see a few in the store, your local hospital may appreciate your help.

Some hospitals also ask for homemade face masks . Here's everything you need to know about making and donating homemade masks and where to buy them . If you have a 3D printer, you can help make googles and face shields at home . If you have additional items at home, call your hospital or donation center and ask if and how they accept donations.

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Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Remote Volunteering

Many organizations offer remote volunteering opportunities that you can do from home. For example, Alone is an organization that guides the elderly. You can volunteer by phone by calling and checking in at least two hours a week. (See more ways to help seniors below.)

iCouldBe is a student mentoring program that spends an hour each week on the school year. The program offers you online activities and conversation starters. This can be especially helpful for students who complete the year as distance students and need extra help with resources and tutoring – or an extra friend.

You could also volunteer for Crisis Text Line, where you would be a remote crisis adviser. The organization mainly asks for volunteers between 7 p.m. and 3am PT. The service includes free training on how to reply to texts from people who contact you.

Donating blood safely

The Red Cross was struggling with a "serious" blood shortage, but thanks to many volunteers it was able to immediately meet patient needs. Now it is looking for plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients because they have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus.

While millions of people across the country have been instructed to avoid nonessential messages, the Red Cross and other blood banks have taken precautions.

For example, the Red Cross checks the temperature of each person before entering the building and keeps donors two meters apart. Staff follow the protocol by wearing gloves throughout the process and cleaning surfaces between donors.

A Kentucky blood bank follows suit and assesses changes in donor health since their last visit. They disinfect the donor sieve zones, donation beds and equipment during the day and also have a professional who thoroughly cleans the surfaces every night.

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Buy gift certificates and order takeaway from local restaurants

Across the country, millions of restaurants and bars have closed their doors for personal visits – many are still open for takeout and delivery. However, many have been forced to close their doors completely, creating a lot of unemployment.

You can help keep local businesses afloat by ordering takeout or pickup. In New York, bars are allowed to bring alcoholic drinks for a limited time. Websites across the country are popping up to match eaters with gift-vending restaurants, such as Save Our Faves in San Francisco (co-founded by Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger) and Portland SOS, which also has small businesses. GiftBar sells gift cards in various markets in the United States. You can also support restaurants by buying their cookbooks.

Smart home security company Ring now has the neighborhood pledge where you can choose a company to support during this period. You can make a pledge to help collect donations for the company, buy gift cards, or eat them once a week. You can also search a company's website for ways to purchase gift cards or make donations.

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Buy gift cards to float them while closed

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Donate money to organizations that help with medical costs.

The HealthWell Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial aid to help pay for prescription co-pays, health insurance premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.

GlobalGiving has a coronavirus relief fund to which you can also donate. Donations go to medical supplies, provide essential items to troubled families and older people in quarantined cities, feed children who depend on school meals and more.

Help Your Neighbors: Groceries, Babysitting, Video Calls

If you have elderly neighbors who can't make it to the store, check them regularly by calling, video chatting or texting. Offer to pick up groceries and other essentials, and offer to bring them meals several times a week – you can keep them on the porch so you don't risk spreading germs.

You can also offer to take them to doctor's appointments ( clean your car first and leave them in the back to practice social distance) or ask if they need you to go to the pharmacy to get their prescriptions (they must give the pharmacist permission).

If your neighbors have kids at home and need babysitting help because of work or appointments, consider making an offer to help, whatever that is – watching them for an hour, borrowing board games, or even helping your neighbor with shopping. Note that not everyone is comfortable asking for help, so approach the topic carefully.

How to Help Older People in Care Homes

People over 60 and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk of severe reactions to COVID-19 disease. These groups are increasingly placed in their own quarantine. Many nursing homes and other care facilities are now closed to visitors as a measure to protect residents.

You can help reduce loneliness by making regular calls, video calls, video messages, and text-based chats. Send photos, fun articles, puzzles, adult coloring books and other items to keep your loved ones and neighbors connected. Consider having a happy daily conversation.

If you don't have a family member who lives in a nursing home, but still want to help, send flowers, cards, or other items to your local nursing home. Call first to see what their protocol is about delivering cookies and children's drawings. You can also send a letter through an organization called Love for the Elderly.

While you are helping others during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that you also take care of yourself. Here's how to help kill the coronavirus in your home how to keep the coronavirus off your phone and 15 tips to avoid coronavirus when going out in public . Also get acquainted with the key coronavirus terms that you should know now.

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