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COVID-19: How you can help

Here are some relief funds and organizations that could really use your help right now.

As you are no doubt aware, we are all dealing with some very immediate problems right now courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic. We know many of you want to help others, so we’ve compiled a list of online resources where you can do exactly that.

Because this is a national situation affecting millions of people, our list is far from comprehensive. Its aim is simply to provide some concrete solutions for people in different parts of the country, as well as some ideas that will make it easier for you to provide (or receive) assistance.

Donations

Let’s start here. There are, thankfully, plenty of big organizations helping people with the coronavirus in different ways. Among them are:

American Red Cross. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals and health care workers around the country are reporting a shortage of blood donors. So if you want a really good reason to leave the house (while observing the safety protocols in your area, of course), go to the Red Cross website and find a place near you to donate blood.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Feeding and educating children.

Feeding America. Food banks across the nation are responding to COVID-19 by feeding people in need.

Meals On Wheels. Providing meals for seniors in need during the public health crisis.

Oxfam. Protecting and advocating for the most vulnerable people in the United States and around the globe.

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Relief funds

If working from home during the coronavirus pandemic is driving you insane, remember that people in the hospitality industry wish their main problem was trying to stop their kids from saying “Daddy isn’t wearing pants” during Zoom meetings. Many waiters, bartenders, and countless other members of this industry are either working reduced hours or out of a job entirely right now, and many only worked part-time to begin with, potentially leaving them without health coverage. Also consider that every little bit helps. If you’re ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant, tip a bit extra if your budget supports it.

There are too many organizations, both local and national, to list here. You can see a comprehensive list on Eater; we’ve spotlighted a few notable options below.

The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Relief Fund. Best known for its annual awards, the James Beard Foundation has also set up a foundation to distribute micro-grants to affected businesses.

Southern Smoke Foundation. This organization was originally established to help restaurant workers in crisis year-round but has been mobilized to provide assistance during the current pandemic. Based in Houston, and provides assistance throughout the region.

The United States Bartenders’ Guild National Relief Foundation. This national group provides resources for beverage, hospitality and nonprofit professionals. This fund will provide emergency assistance grants to those who need it.

Service Industry Tips. This website lets you send money directly to hospitality workers chosen at random from more than 25 different states. (You can choose which city.)

Businesses worth supporting

Not only can you directly support the workers affected by this crisis, but you can also support independent and local businesses themselves by making a purchase. Gift cards and merch (t-shirts, hats, etc.) are available from many restaurants, bars and stores, and help provide those businesses with much-needed revenue while their doors are shut. They might not be “essential” by the letter of the law, but they’re the places we’ll all miss if they don’t make it through this time.

We encourage you to find out which of your favorite local stores are selling online or doing delivery. Here are some national options, too.

Books: Powell’s Books, the iconic bookstore in Portland, Oregon, is still selling online, although its physical stores are closed. Same goes for Books Are Magic — a much-loved bookstore in Brooklyn, NY.

Music: In the streaming era, many musicians rely on touring income to pay the rent. To support them while they’re on lockdown, try buying some music on Bandcamp, a treasure trove of independent music from around the world in every genre you know and many you’re yet to discover. It also pays artists far more than any other service.

Clothing and workout gear: Should your WFH attire need an upgrade, or should you find yourself suddenly cycling through exercise gear, try shopping directly from that brand you like, instead of using a big online store.

Getting help for your small business

Many states and cities have funds set up to help small businesses. Forbes has a list of them on its Small Business Relief Tracker.

People who need small loans should also consider microlender Kiva, which is expanding loan eligibility in response to the crisis.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) now has increased funding: it’s offering disaster assistance loans for small businesses affected by Covid-19.

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During the coronavirus outbreak, the best thing you can do for both your favorite businesses and the economy as a whole is to follow CDC guidelines. Practice social distancing, limit how often you leave your house, and practice good hygiene. (Wash those hands and use hand sanitizer!) Be sure to monitor any symptoms closely should they arise and consult your healthcare professional as needed. It is a strange and painful time, but we hope it provides some small comfort to know that together, we can make it to the other side of this stronger than ever.

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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

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