How Californians can help their community during the COVID-19 pandemic

California

Authorities have stressed the importance of social distancing to stop the coronavirus outbreak. But Californians who want to further help their community can also do so safely.

Here are some ways to that:

Deliver meals to seniors

The state’s California Volunteers office encourages individuals who have time to drop off meals to vulnerable seniors to contact a local Meals on Wheels about needs in their area. State officials said anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 shouldn’t volunteer. Those who are healthy should take precautions, including following social distancing and hygiene guidelines. Click here for more information on how to volunteer safely.

Check on seniors

Officials are also asking Californians to check on their elderly neighbors by talking to them through their door, or by calling or texting.

In Redlands, staffers at one assisted living facility have requested letters and drawings to provide some cheer to residents experiencing loneliness during the outbreak. Those interested can address them to Hamilton Home at 940 Stillman Ave., Redlands, CA 92374.

Donate blood

Red Cross had to cancel scheduled blood drives due to closures of schools and many workplaces, leading to a shortage of blood supply. “The need for blood is constant – patients need your help,” the organizations says. Donors can find a blood drive and make an appointment online

Volunteer to distribute food

The Red Cross is also working with the Los Angeles Unified School District to distribute food to children and their families affected by school closures. The group is taking applications online.

Donate personal protective equipment

Individuals who have spare homemade and surgical masks and respirators to give can visit mask-match.com to connect with health care workers who’ll accept them. 

Businesses and organizations who can donate supplies or purchase them for hospitals can visit covid19supplies.ca.gov

Donate non-medical supplies

Riverside County’s public health officer said tissues, paper towels, personal care kits and other non-medical items can be dropped off at a donation site at 2980 Washington St. in Riverside on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. People can email nonmedicalsupples@rivco.org for information.

Other community groups, such as the Little Tokyo Service Center in L.A., are also accepting donated food and supplies to distribute to people in need.

Offer a place to stay for first responders

Airbnb hosts can offer their space to first responders through the website.

“To protect the community and themselves, COVID-19 responders need entire listings with no people present,” the company said.

The company is waiving fees for the first 100,000 bookings made through the program. Click here for more information.

Sign up for the California Health Corps

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on health care professionals who aren’t already practicing as well as graduating students in the field to apply to the new California Health Corps. Those who qualify will receive compensation and malpractice insurance coverage. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Foster pets

Shelters across the region have had to close due to the outbreak, but some facilities are still accepting inquiries from people who want to foster or adopt pets. They also welcome donations through their websites and through their Amazon wishlists. 

Los Angeles County Animal Services: The agency has said that it’s reviewing applications after receiving an overwhelming response from people who want to adopt or foster animals during the stay-at-home order. On April 4, the North Central Shelter encouraged anyone interested in rescuing an animal to call 213-485-5767 to set up an appointment.

Orange County Animal Care: 714-935-6848

Riverside County Department of Animal Services: 951-358-7387, shelterinfo@rivco.org

Support nonprofits 

For those who want to make monetary donations, Philanthropy California has a list of COVID-19 relief funds that will disburse grants to nonprofits. “Nonprofits of all types — especially those serving vulnerable communities — need your help,” says a message on the California Volunteers website. “Donate to nonprofits you love, that you see helping people in need, that your friends recommend to you, and that are addressing systemic inequities and disparities.”

Support local businesses

Businesses and community and industry advocates are encouraging people who can afford it to support their area restaurants by ordering delivery. The Los Angeles Times has a list of more ways people can help struggling restaurants.

Many other small businesses that have had to completely shut down during the stay-at-home orders have also taken to their social media accounts to communicate how their customers can assist them in their time of need, including buying gift cards for future use.

Support KTLA community partners

KTLA’s community department has partnered with three aid and relief organizations helping those affected by the coronavirus pandemic: The Salvation Army, Project Angel Food and Feeding America Riverside-San Bernardino. More information on how to help is here.

KTLA partners with Salvation Army

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