“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
When disaster strikes, the helpers come out to shine. They are the beacons of light in our community, the ones pushing up their sleeves to help, the ones supporting others who doing the work, and the ones who aren’t trying to put their wants above others needs. Be a helper.
If you are one of the helpers, one of your first thoughts at times like these is “How can I help?” And then you do. Different crisis call for different kinds of action and are suited to different types of helpers. Maybe you can’t go out, but you can help raise money or even just share info on social media to spread awareness.
Maybe you don’t have extra money to donate, but you can donate goods or services. Sometimes a helper just provides information to someone in need. If you’re looking to be a helper, read below to see if there are any volunteer, donation, or support needs you can help with.
How to Help During a Crisis in Columbus
Some of these needs are in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but others are ongoing, everyday in our community.
Be a Good Human
The most important thing to strive for during times of crisis is to be a good human. You don’t have to save the world, but be kind.
Treat grocery store employees and medical personnel with the respect that they deserve. They are in the thick of it right now and are putting their health at risk at their job every day. Be nice on social media. Look out for your neighbors and help them if they need. If you went a little overboard and are sitting on cases of toilet paper, sanitizer, or medical supplies, donate some – you don’t need it all right now. Call someone who may be alone and nervous. Leave a bag of food or supplies on the porch of someone who has lost their job, is elderly, or is struggling for another reason.
There are many ways to be a helper, and being a good person is one of them. Remember, you don’t have to be a hero, you just have to help.
They best way you can help prevent the spread of this virus is to stay home as much as possible, and practice social distancing and excellent hygiene when you are out.
There is a critical need for blood right now. The American Red Cross is urging eligible and healthy donors to make an appointment at one of their blood donation centers to give blood or platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, rise in the U.S. As cases spread, less people will be available to donate and maintain crucial levels of blood product.
Please make an appointment to donate blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood donors with type O blood and platelet donors are especially needed right now. We suggest you download the Red Cross Blood Donor app before your appointment to fill out your rapid-pass screening on the day of the appointment. It’ll cut down on time at the appointment.
Donate Food and Goods and/or Volunteer
People are panic shopping and hoarding, and leaving the shelves bare of essentials. Food banks are overwhelmed as more people are out of work each day. If you have extra food or money to donate, food pantries could really use your help. Most are also looking for volunteers, so if you are healthy and low risk, please consider volunteering. Precautions are in place to limit contact and amount of people in an area.
Here are some places to consider donating food or volunteering your time. How to help:
Mid-Ohio Food Bank. There’s a high need for donations and volunteers!
Columbus Area Food Pantries & Meal Kitchens (via Cap4Kids)
Columbus Blessing Boxes and Little Pantries. Drop off any amount of non-perishable or household items in these outdoor cabinets placed throughout Central Ohio.
Local Churches. While many churches aren’t holding in person services, they may still be collecting food and non-perishables to distribute to those in need. Contact a local church to see if you can help. If you know of a church accepting food donations (whether ongoing or currently), please leave a comment for readers to see.
The LunchBox. With a goal to end childhood hunger, The Lunchbox passes out emergency food bags to children in the summer and during school closures. They are accepting food donations and looking for volunteers to help pack and distribute. The are in critical need of donations now, due to more families being out of work. Monetary donations are also accepted.
LifeCare Alliance Meals-on-Wheels (for seniors and veterans). Not only are seniors recommended to stay at home, many are not able to find the food they need at the grocery store. LifeCare Alliance is in need of volunteers. If you are able to deliver Meals-on-Wheels to homebound seniors and people with medical challenges in Franklin, Marion, Madison, Champaign, or Logan counties, please apply on their website. Monetary donations are also accepted.
YWCA Columbus. Critical need for the following items for the Family Center and the Women’s Residency. Items must be new in package.
- Iron-Fortified Formula
- Soy Milk
- Baby Food
- Surface Wipes
- Bottled Water
- Hand Sanitizer
- Paper Plates, Utensils, Cups
- Toilet Paper
- Activities for Children (Board Games, Puzzles, Coloring Books, etc.)
- Disposable Gloves
- Medical Disposable Face Masks
- Toiletries (Deodorant, Conditioner, Lotion, Body Wash)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Sippy Cups and bottles
- Diapers and Pull up (All Sizes)
- Cleaning supplies
- $25 Gift Cards from Walmart, Kroger or Target
Other options for how to help
All Cameron Mitchell Restaurants will close for the time being after tonight. If you love Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and will be dining at the restaurants after the closures, please consider purchasing a gift card this month! 100% of online gift card sales through March will be donated to the Associate Relief Fund, along with personal contributions from the CMR leadership team. This fund will be divided evenly among the company’s 4,500 furloughed associates who have been affected by the closures.
Buy gift cards from local stores and restaurants
Local businesses and restaurants are going through very uncertain and scary times. If you want to help and have the money in your budget, purchase a gift card now to use later. This extra money up front could make the difference for a business.
Do you know of other helper opportunities? Please leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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