In the midst of the Coronavirus developments and resulting uncertainty, one thing has become clear: It may also bring out some of the best parts of humanity.
We’re moved to help and amplify the inspiring initiatives across neighbourhoods and borders. If like us, you’ve heard of mutual aid groups, neighbours, companies, and nonprofits rising up to help, but aren’t quite sure where to start, then we invite you to read on.
Starting with our team and community, we’re pulling together ideas, initiatives, groups, and other resources around the world in one place for all so you can find one where you are. So although many of us are apart, and protecting ourselves and staying safe remain the top priority, here’s a start:
1. Join or form a mutual aid group
Many mutual aid groups have popped up around the world to coordinate people’s needs with those who can help. These groups are coordinating efforts to share childcare, cooking, pet care, deliveries, conversations/calls, but also resources like Netflix subscriptions, housing, storage space, art, books, and social services guidance (e.g. filing for unemployment). Find a local group or set up your own in your building, by putting up a note in your neighbors’ mailbox or common area.
2. Donate blood
With blood drives being canceled, many blood banks across countries like the US, UK, France, and Switzerland, are carefully monitoring their stocks and urgently need healthy donors to continue giving blood to ensure a stable supply. If you are healthy and can safely make it to a blood donation center, consider making an appointment with your local organisation to find out how and when you can give blood.
3. Raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts
COVID-19 response and recovery funds have emerged to help relief efforts and to find solutions for the virus and its effects, such as those of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Boston Resiliency Fund. At Alaya, we’re raising funds for Medair’s efforts in vulnerable countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, where education and equipment are imperative at this time, as well as a local fundraiser for the Geneva Red Cross’ efforts to support healthcare workers and the elderly in the region. While typical fundraising efforts like running races, bake sales, or others might not be possible, why not try an indoor challenge, like planking or squats?
4. Offer moral support to healthcare workers and elderly
Our mental health and wellbeing is crucial now, more than ever. Healthcare workers are working day and night, and many of us are confined alone at home, including seniors. Conversations and small gestures of gratitude can make the difference, such as cheering on healthcare workers in Spain, Italy Switzerland, or calling relatives or neighbors who live alone to offer a listening ear and supportive conversation. Let’s keep together, even when physically apart.
5. Volunteer remotely with your skills
Skills-based virtual volunteering is a valuable way to help from home, whether for nonprofits or for other members of the community. With children unable to go to school, you can tutor them (and help their parents have some time off) with initiatives like Yes! No School. You can also help those with low vision or blindness via Be My Eyes. Thanks to technology, we can help others no matter where they are in the world.
Where to start?
If you’re a nonprofit and looking for help from companies, contact us to share your needs.
If you’re an individual looking for opportunities to help at this time, check out this list to find opportunities (or add any others to give them more visibility): Coronavirus Community Aid Initiatives
We hope these ideas and initiatives can help. Remember to act responsibly and safely, taking care of yourself and following the authorities’ recommendations.
Thank you to everyone who has been taking action. Coming together and supporting those in need in our communities is how we can move forward and quickly improve this situation.