What You Can Actually Do to Help Right Now
Places to donate, actions to take, and ways to support your community while social distancing
As the coronavirus first began to make its way through the United States, it brought out the worst in a lot of people: The profiteers buying up hand sanitizer to resell at obscene prices. The panic shoppers hoarding toilet paper. The racists targeting Asians and Asian Americans. The spring breakers insisting on their right to party on, virus be damned.
But right now, just about a week after the World Health Organization declared the highly contagious virus a global pandemic and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, there’s also a lot of good to be found: People rejecting the “everyone for themselves” mentality that fear so often brings and, instead, looking for ways to help.
“The world we knew has radically changed in ways that are difficult to process,” says Sean Duffy, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, Camden. “People were justifiably fearful at first and acted in a way that appeared selfish. But I think once people understood the situation, [that] was replaced by collective endeavor.”
There are lots of ways to help your fellow humans right now, many of which don’t even require you to leave the house. What’s more, Duffy says, taking action to benefit someone else might help ease your own anxieties. “This is a situation that is out of anyone’s control,” he says. “So, people like to feel like they are doing something, anything, to mitigate it.”
Things to do if you can afford it
This may seem obvious, but there are a whole lot of people and businesses facing a deeply uncertain financial future. If you’re continuing to work from home and have money to spare, consider using some of your paycheck to help people who are out of work or to support industries unable to carry on business as usual.
Perhaps the simplest way to help financially is to make a donation. A few good options:
- Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization that makes sure doctors have the medical equipment they need.