As we continue to urge social isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve, it is also imperative that we support those groups and organizations addressing the societal side effects of pandemic. There are steps all of us can take at home to help coronavirus relief efforts by improving food security, pushing back against stigma, raising awareness, and to generally keep each other safe. At a time when it’s critical to maintain our distance from one another, it’s only natural that we want to throw our arms around each other even more. Here is a list of organizations that could use your support or have portals that allow you to have a direct impact right from your couch.
This list was compiled based on this Buzzfeed article and on first-hand knowledge of Passion Passport staff members. It will be updated as more resources come to our attention, and we encourage you to reach out with any we might have missed in the comments or via Twitter.
The United States – Nationwide Programs
No Kid Hungry is a national program run by charitable organization Share Our Strength with the intention of ending childhood hunger in America. They currently estimate that children across the country have missed out on more than 40 million meals after mass school closures. You can donate or phone bank on behalf of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is currently before the Senate and would help families get the food they need during this time. Simply input your information into their online form and they’ll call you, connecting you to your senator’s office. It’s that easy.
Feeding America is a network of food banks across the country with a dedicated COVID-19 Response Fund that is coordinating mobile depositories, efforts with schools, and more. You can donate to the fund directly or use their website to find a food bank in your area that needs help.
The CDC Foundation is a 501(c) charitable organization that works in conjunction with the United States government’s Center for Disease Control in order to address public health concerns in America and around the world, including everything from the opioid epidemic to the novel coronavirus. Their fundraising effort All of Us is in partnership with several corporate donors who will match your donation.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy organizes several funds in response to all types of natural and public disasters with a focus on medium- and long-term efforts that enable recovery and stabilize populations, as the most pressing needs in disasters are not always immediately apparent. Their COVID-19 fund can be found here.
In their own words, Direct Relief exists for the simple, humanitarian purpose of helping people whose health and lives are threatened. A week ago, they were already responsible for providing more than 850,000 masks and 1,000,000 pairs of gloves to health workers on the front lines of this crisis. In response to the coronavirus crisis, it is currently their top priority to equip medical professionals and healthcare workers with the supplies and resources they need. You can donate or sign up to volunteer on their website.
The United States – Efforts by City
New York City
World Central Kitchen is a disaster relief mission set up ten years ago by famous chef Jose Andres, whose restaurants in the Washington D.C. area have already been converted into community kitchens after initially shutting their doors in response to the crisis. After serving meals in Yokohama, Japan and providing emergency culinary logistics to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine there, WCK is now distributing meals in The Bronx and Queens. Their #chefsforamerica movement intends to do the same across the country, and you can add any community kitchens in your area running similar relief programs to their interactive map. You can also donate.
Invisible Hands Deliver is a volunteer-led initiative that was created in recent days specifically in response to the coronavirus epidemic. Delivery of groceries is free, and they have multiple payment methods that can help minimize contact with anyone if you or someone you know is immunocompromised or belongs to any other at-risk demographic. If outside of New York City, consider donating so that they can continue to operate a fully functional website (full of cute animals) and provide their volunteers with supplies for their safety, such as gloves and disinfectant wipes. If in New York City, consider printing some of their flyers and distributing them in your neighborhood to raise awareness of their program.
My Block My Hood My City is a community outreach initiative with several year-round programs focused on providing fun new experiences to youth in under-serviced neighborhoods, improving financial literacy, or giving technology training to help community leaders formalize and get the word out about their own neighborhood associations. Right now they’re organizing a viral response to the effects of COVID-19 on senior citizens, preparing care packages full of hand sanitizer and health supplements that volunteers can safely deliver to the elderly and those with disabilities. You can donate, sign up to volunteer, or request a care package for someone you know.
The Chicago area is home to a number of food banks and community pantries under immense duress at this time and who could use your support. The Greater Chicago Food Depository is the largest in the city, with a network of over 700 partner agencies and pantry locations that, with few exceptions, remain open to serve the community at this time. They have a hand in everything from improving food security to helping coordinate school food programs in this crisis period. While all support is helpful, they do ask firstly for financial support at this time. Common Pantry on North Damen in Wrigleyville also provides food to anyone who needs it at this time, regardless of age, race, wealth, immigration or housing status. You can donate food items, but they also stress that every $1 donated provides 4 meals.
The hunger relief organization Philabundance is working above capacity right now due to a surge in demand beyond the 90,000 people they already service every week, many of whom are seniors and those who will be disproportionately effected by the Coronavirus public health crisis. They are currently building and distributing emergency food boxes for a nine-county area. You can donate here.
The PHL COVID-19 fund is a crowdsourcing effort to help provide financial relief for the nonprofit organizations whose resources are straining under an unprecedented test.
You can find a more comprehensive list of resources in Philadelphia and the surrounding area at this link.
The Canadian program Kids Help Phone is providing free training to those who want to become crisis responders for at-risk youth or any young person battling anxiety and depression at this difficult time. You can complete the training and begin helping right in your home.
Amnesty International has a free online human rights academy with courses on everything from digital security and the tenets of human rights to those that will teach you how to write about human rights abuses and efforts.