While many people all over the world feel uncertain and isolated, these surreal and unstable times can serve as a crucial reminder that we are not, in fact, alone. We’re part of a supportive society, and we’re each a valuable element of several communities. Beyond checking on your neighbors, family and friends; continuing to shop at local businesses; and Venmo-ing your favorite barista, bartender or waiter, there are many ways we can support those in need and make this a moment for change. Here, we have listed organizations that tirelessly work to assist people who need help. We hope that you continue to donate your spare time and money to these initiatives, and never forget that we’re all in this together.
Feeding America actively redistributes food—from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers—to the 200+ food banks, 60,000+ food pantries, and hundreds more meal programs they assist. Right now, Feeding America seeks donations to increase the amount of food they circulate, especially as the roster of those in need grows. It is the organization’s hope that providing food to those struggling with food insecurity moves them one step closer to a more stable lifestyle.
A crucial initiative always, but certainly now when many people are facing financial hardship, City Harvest rescues discarded food and delivers it (free of charge) to over a million food-insecure New Yorkers. They work to offer nutritional dishes especially in neighborhoods where it’s tricky to find healthy, affordable food.
No Kid Hungry
Right now No Kid Hungry is working double-time to assist the country’s at-risk kids who are no longer able to rely on meals that they’d normally receive in school or during after-school programs. The organization has a comprehensive network of volunteers, chefs, community leaders, and parents that can get food to those that need it, but donations are always welcome to ease and accelerate the donation process. Right now, No Kid Hungry encourages donations and, for those that can, calls to your legislator about passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Meals on Wheels
For seniors and elderly who are limited physically or financially, Citymeals and Meals on Wheels programs are designed to meet the nutritional and social needs of those they support. Constantly underfunded, these organizations need donations now more than ever.
National Domestic Workers Alliance
The overarching goal of the National Domestic Workers Alliance is to fight for recognition and labor protection for domestic employees—most of whom are immigrants and women of color. At the moment, many of these individuals (in-home caregivers, nannies, cleaners and others) have been let go without paid leave or healthcare. Donations to NDWA mean immediate financial support and some semblance of security for these workers.
One Fair Wage
Working to end unfair sub-minimum wages across the country, One Fair Wage (run by Alliance for a Just Society) has also launched an emergency fund to support bar, restaurant, delivery and personal service workers as well as car service drivers. Not only losing their income, these workers have lost their tips—which make up a significant portion of their salaries.
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
Set up by the United States Bartenders Guild, the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is a fantastic way to send some much-needed money to those who rely on casual hours and tips. From 16-31 March, Jameson Irish Whiskey is pledging to match every dollar donation up to $100k (and the Long Drink is running a similar campaign). Plus, for those who work in the industry, there’s information about grants available on their site.
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation
An advocacy and action non-profit for restaurant workers, the RWCF has also launched their Emergency Relief Fund which is sending money to organizations and individuals facing hardship. Their work is critical outside of this crisis, however, and the organization dedicates much of their time to fighting for wage increases as well as offering grants.
NYC COVID-19 Response Fund
The NYC COVID-19 Response Fund is calling for donations to assist African-American community members in need of money, groceries and healthcare. Right now, the amount raised (in just five days) is just below $15k, but the total figure that would make meaningful impact far exceeds this. All are encouraged to donate so that organizers can quickly redistribute the mutual aid, use funds to purchase quarantine supplies and more.
Relief Fund For Hollywood Support Staff
With production on films and TV shut down, crews and support staff have been left with drastically reduced hours or let go completely. Many of these individuals don’t qualify for unemployment. The Relief Fund for Hollywood Support Staff initially wanted to raise $100k and has already surpassed that, but can certainly use more.
C19 Help Squad
A super-useful resource for other organizations and a way to get involved yourself, the C19 Help Squad has been set up for people all over the country to offer their assistance—from checking in on neighbors to grocery shopping, transport and more. Their Slack channel is a constantly changing local notice board and a great way to get involved on a grass roots level.
We will continue to update this list.
Hero image courtesy of Ben Hider for City Harvest