Taking Action

12 Ways To Help People Affected By The Pandemic Worldwide

Ways to donate, volunteer, spread awareness, and more.

by Kaitlyn Wylde
Originally Published: 
Woman with face mask sorting clothes while volunteering to help people affected by the coronavirus p...
Halfpoint Images/Moment/Getty Images

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the coronavirus became a pandemic over a year ago, over 100 million Americans have gotten fully vaccinated, marking the beginning of a healing chapter in this country. But the pandemic isn’t over: the vaccine’s uneven global rollout means that as more people up their defense in the U.S., many people — in this country and across the globe — are still in need of help. If you'd like to help people affected by the coronavirus, you can consider donating, volunteering, or even sending positive messages.

Even though much progress has been made to fix the economic crises that hit along with the start of the pandemic, joblessness, economic fallout, mental health crises, long-term health complications and more continue to cause issues across the world. And while the major health organizations have the big things under control, there are still ways to support victims of COVID through donating, volunteering, and spreading awareness about the work that’s left to be done.

Here's a list of organizations that are currently accepting help during the pandemic, along with other ways you can make a difference:

1. Support Founders Of Women-Owned Businesses

Small businesses, particularly those owned by women, were hit hard in the pandemic: they were forced to closed temporarily, shutter completely, or pivot indefinitely. Starting Friday, May 14, you can support female business owners who have been impacted by coronavirus by joining a collaboration between global food and personal care supplier Unilever, and career and personal growth platform Luminary. By going to EveryDayUDoesGood.com and shopping female-founded businesses on the Luminary Collective, or investing in women by funding Illumination Grants, you can directly aid women who have been affected by coronavirus. As a part of the aid effort, Luminary will be also offering free access to their coaching, consulting, and community building resources for professionals through the end of May.

2. Prevent COVID Vaccine Misinformation

The pace of vaccine distribution in the U.S. is slowing down, and many experts believe that vaccine hesitancy, fueled in part by misinformation about vaccines, is to blame. Helping your friends and loved ones get accurate info about the COVID vaccines can lead them to decide to get it, making every community safer. Staying up to date with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will limit the noise and keep you focused on the facts — that the approved COVID vaccines are both safe and effective.

Another way to promote the vaccine? Showing others you got your shot by posting on social media. On Friday May 14, if you share a photo of your vaccination (or another act of service) on Twitter with the hashtag #DoGoodWithUnilever, you become eligible to win free ice cream while supplies last. Unilever will also be handing out free ice cream at select vaccination sites in major cities across the U.S. that day.

3. Donate To Support COVID Relief Efforts In India

While much of the world is recovering from the virus, India is being devastated by a second surge, resulting in nearly 60,000 deaths in April, bringing the total death toll over 200,000. Hospitals are overwhelmed and in need of oxygen for sick patients, and vaccine supply is low. Marginalized communities are dealing with homelessness and are in immediate need of resources like food, shelter and medical care. You can donate now to bring direct relief to the frontlines.

Project HOPE is delivering PPE to hospitals, training in-line health workers for the frontline and educating communities on how to stop the spread of the virus. Donate a one-time or monthly gift here.

Direct Relief is bring medical supplies like oxygen and PPE to hospitals across India. Select COVID-19 Response India to under the drop down to select that program.

Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust (TWEET) Foundation gives aid, protection and resources to trans youth in India — many of whom have been rejected by their families and are in need of immediate support. TWEET is organizing donations toward shelter space and urgent care for trans communities across India.

ChildFund is organizing drop off efforts for families with vulnerable children including food, hygiene products and mental health resources. The organization is accepting donations that go directly to relief baskets that are being distributed now.

There are also various verified GoFundMe pages for relief work if you’re looking to make a more personal donation.

4. Support Food Banks

Donating to food banks, like Food Bank NYC, Feeding America, or Meals on Wheels will ensure that senior citizens and low-income families have the food they need to stay healthy and fed. Organizations like No Kid Hungry are giving grants to food banks and spreading resources directly to communities in need to ensure kids have three meals a day.

5. Donate To Local Charities

To help your community directly, local groups like The Seattle Foundation in Seattle and Horizons for Youth in Chicago are raising funds for relief grants that regional organizations devastated by coronavirus can apply for. Keep a lookout for local charity drives that will give your community resources to recover, too. You can use the search tool on sites like GoFundMe to find the right donation drive for you.

6. Donate To COVID Patients In Hospitals

UC San Diego Health is currently collecting materials to entertain COVID patients who are unable to receive visitors. Cards, sudoku books, and crossword puzzles, magazines, books, and crafts supplies are all welcome donations. Check with your local hospital’s volunteer service center to see what they might be looking for.

7. Support Working Moms

Over three million women have lost jobs during the pandemic — many of whom are mothers who were laid off or furloughed; many others have had to leave their jobs in order to provide childcare. Project Matriarchs is an organization that offers virtual childcare and assistance with homeschooling. You can donate, or sign up as a distance learning support worker.

You can also check in with your community to see how you might be able to safely support its working mothers. Volunteer in your neighborhood Facebook group to do virtual tutoring, to drop off groceries, or help with childcare if you’ve been vaccinated and able.

8. Support Animals

While an increase in adoption efforts left shelters are bare early in the pandemic, they’re filling back up again with pets that are being returned by people who realized they were unable to care for them long-term. Families who have suffered financial loss during the pandemic are also in need of support with vet bills and medical supplies for their pets. The Humane Society is currently accepting donations that will go toward donating food and medication to pet families in need. You can also use PetFinder to locate animals that need homes outside of shelters, or donate to the PetFinder Foundation directly.

9. Help Prevent The Spread Of COVID

COVID is still spreading in communities where fewer people are vaccinated. While the CDC has advised that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outside, except in crowded areas, continuing to mask indoors, as well as maintain other hygiene behaviors like regular hand-washing, staying home if you’re sick, and keeping distance between you and people outside of your household, can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus to people who are not vaccinated.

10. Give Blood

If you’ve been vaccinated, you might be eligible to donate blood to the Red Cross, which is currently looking for help with blood and platelet donors. The Red Cross continues to host blood drives to meet the needs of COVID-related patient care, and to stock up to prevent future shortages. And if you’ve had coronavirus, the plasma in your blood can be helpful in treating patients who are currently fighting the virus. Antibodies found in plasma can help patients who are hospitalized to recover faster. You can check the Red Cross’ site to see if you’re eligible to donate blood or plasma.

11. Support Small Businesses

With reduced hours, staff, and patronage, small businesses are still struggling to recoup their losses from the last year. Whenever possible, turn to small businesses for food, goods, and supplies. Tagging small businesses on social media is also a good way to help them increase visibility and potentially inspire new business.

12. Become An In-Person Or Virtual Volunteer

VolunteerMatch.com has a variety of virtual volunteer opportunities, ranging from teaching English online to international students who are still unable to go to school due to the pandemic, to helping out with social media on COVID-related campaigns. If you’re willing to volunteer on-site, programs like Vaccinate America are looking for non-medical volunteers to help out with vaccination awareness, and looking for extra hands at vaccination centers.

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