Resources to Support Your Community
COVID-19, and Community Advocacy
Updated April 12, 2020
Below is a list of volunteer opportunities and ideas to provide aid, relief, and comfort while still observing precautions that will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Whether it is making time to offer translation or legal services, donating to a local cause on the frontlines, or signing up to grocery shop for an elderly neighbor, there is an opportunity for each of us to do our part.
We hope you find something on this list that inspires you to take positive action—and encourage others to do the same. Even socially distanced, we can come together on behalf of those in need.
Volunteer at a Food Bank
Over half of all soup kitchens, food pantries and meal programs rely entirely on volunteers. Feeding America can help you identify the best place to help in your neighborhood.
Support Food to Seniors
Meals on Wheels
Seniors are among those at greatest risk during the COVID-19 crisis. Local Meals on Wheels programs are focused on keeping older Americans safe and nourished. You can donate monetarily, or, if able, volunteer to deliver meals.
Provide Emotional Support
Crisis Text Line
People contact Crisis Text Line when they need help with a wide range of issues, like bullying, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. The volume of conversations has increased during the public health crisis. You can help by volunteering to provide emotional support via their free, 24/7, web-based platform. Crisis Text Line provides a self-paced training before asking volunteers to sign up for one four-hour shift per week for a year.
Education and Civic Engagement
Send a Letter to a Student in a Juvenile Justice Center
Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings
Students who are incarcerated are being isolated from their teachers and loved ones as prisons struggle to deal with the crisis. Sign up with CEEAS’s Care-Mail program to write a student a letter and let them know they are not alone.
Become a Citizen Archivist
The National Archives
Volunteers tag and transcribe records, making The National Archives more searchable and accessible to people across the country.
Help Record History
The Smithsonian Transcription Center
“Volunpeers” transcribe field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, and more from the museum’s collection, making historical documents and important biodiversity data accessible.
Make Books Available Online
By scanning books into BookShare’s library—or proofreading and correcting existing scans—you expand the collection of books available for customized reading experiences designed to help those with reading barriers, like vision impairments or dyslexia.
Become a Citizen Scientist
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Spot and identify birds in your community, then help advance science and conservation by sharing your observations with ornithologists at Cornell.
Translation and Legal Services
Provide Language Services for Migrants
Multilingual volunteers can download the Tarjimly app and sign up to serve as an on-demand translator for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.
Offer Legal Services
We The Action
If you are a lawyer, We The Action can connect you to hundreds of nonprofits that need legal services—which now includes many organizations responding to the coronavirus. If you’re not a lawyer, share this platform with family and friends who are.
Blood and Plasma Donations
The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and AABB.org
With blood drives cancelled, blood banks are facing severe shortages. Donations from healthy individuals are needed now to maintain a sufficient blood supply. The following organizations can help you identify a location to donate in your community:
Donate Convalescent Plasma
The American Red Cross, Columbia University
Plasma from volunteers who contracted COVID-19 and have fully recovered have the potential to help current patients with serious, life-threatening infections. If you believe you qualify, the following organizations can screen you and help arrange a donation:
Be A Neighbor
'Be A Neighbor' campaign on VOMO helps neighbors find local volunteer opportunities, ranging from supporting local food banks to buying and delivering groceries for someone at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or who are in quarantine. Volunteers are critical to the COVID-19 response and community organizations are starting to see a coming tsunami of need.
Volunteer Remotely or On-Site
VolunteerMatch's portal features virtual and on-site volunteer opportunities to aid communities impacted by COVID-19. Thousands of volunteers are needed daily. Check back often to find ways you can help during these difficult times.
Other Ways to Help
Support Food Organizations on the Frontlines
America’s Food Fund
America’s Food Fund helps to ensure people have reliable access to food. All funds directly support the work of World Central Kitchen and Feeding America as they continue to coordinate, mobilize and distribute meals to those impacted by COVID-19.
Support Independent Booksellers
When buying reading material for your time at home, use Bookshop or IndieBound to find a local independent bookstore to support with your purchase, and give back to your local book community.
Help Provide School Supplies for Kids Learning at Home
DonorsChoose has been helping equip classrooms for years. Now that students and teachers are at home, their 'Keep Kids Learning' campaign is helping close the gap for students who need basic supplies to keep their education on track. Donated funds go to teachers who purchase the materials their students need most.
Support Domestic Workers
Hand in Hand
The intimate relationships that domestic workers and care workers have with their employers put them at particular risk if they continue to work during the public health crisis. Using and sharing Hand in Hand’s guides to ethical employment can ensure these workers can continue to safely make a living, and with fair compensation.
Buy Gift Cards for Local Businesses
Help Main Street!
Use this searchable map to find businesses near you offering gift cards, which effectively act as no-interest loans until they are back up and running.