10 Ways to Help Others During the Coronavirus Crisis

Key Takeaways

  • The coronavirus pandemic is leaving millions of people sick, unemployed, and struggling to make ends meet.
  • Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help make a difference in your community from the safety of your home.
  • From volunteering to supporting local establishments, there are a variety of opportunities to help those in need during this difficult time.

It’s tough to know how to help during this coronavirus pandemic. You may find that you have more time on your hands right now than ever. You might even be out of work with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

At the same time, the news is currently full of stories about people who are struggling all over in many ways. It’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed and confused about how you can help.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do right now to help during this crisis without leaving your home. And most of these won’t even cost you any money.

Stay Home

Although you might feel as though you’re sitting around doing nothing, staying home is the best thing you can do right now. Not only will it keep you safer, but it’ll also protect those in your community (including healthcare workers).

So when you’re sitting around thinking about all the things you wish you could be doing to help, remind yourself that staying home is an important job in itself right now.

If you feel compelled to do something while you’re at home, then get some items ready to donate. Clean out your closets, and see if you have any clothes you can give away. Or go through your household goods, and see if any of these are available to be donated to people in need. Then, when it’s safe to be in the community again, donate your items to a local charity.

Check on Other People

Call your friends and neighbors to check on them. You might find an elderly neighbor isn’t aware that they can have their groceries delivered. Or you may discover your friend needs some emotional support.

Video chat, call, or message people just to say you’re thinking of them. Let them know you’re available if they want to talk (if you are willing to do so).

Send handwritten notes too. Right now many people would love to get a letter or card in the mail that reminds them you’re thinking of them.

Make Some Deliveries

You probably know quite a few folks who are more vulnerable to the infection than you are. You should obviously stay home as much as possible, but it can be really dangerous for people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems to even make a trip to the store.

If you have the extra time or hands, consider doing a grocery run for someone who would benefit. Just leave it on their step and wear gloves when handling their bags. Although the risk of getting infected from grocery bags is low, prior research on coronaviruses suggests it would take a full 24 hours for most (90%) of the virus particles on a bag to die off.

Spread Good News and Kindness

There’s a lot of bad news circulating on social media these days about “death tolls” and the economic downturn. There are a lot of heated discussions about politics as well.

So commit to sharing a little kindness and good news. Compliment your friends, send a kind note to someone you appreciate, or share some feel-good positive news. Sharing such things could brighten someone else’s day.

Become a Volunteer Listener

If you’d like to offer more emotional support, sign up to become a volunteer listener at 7 Cups. It’s a website where anyone can chat with a trained listener about any subject they wish.

7 Cups provides free training to anyone who wishes to be a volunteer listener. Once you complete their online course, you can volunteer to chat with people who are looking for support. You choose when to make yourself available, so it’s up to you to decide how much time you want to spend volunteering as a listener.

Become a Volunteer Crisis Counselor Via Text

Crisis Text Line is a free text line available to anyone in the United States who needs help. Crisis counselors are volunteers who answer text messages. They may provide active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning for anyone in need.

Volunteers must undergo a screening process and complete a lengthy self-paced training. Then, they can take a 4-hour shift once a week.

Keep in mind that this position is more of a commitment than the others. They prefer volunteers to remain with them for at least one year since the training costs money to administer.

Make a Donation

If you have extra money right now, consider donating to a charity. There’s a good chance many charities in your community are looking for help dealing with coronavirus—food banks, homeless shelters, etc.

Or you might look for a national charity too. Just make sure you do some homework on them so you’re clear on how your money will be used.

Buy a Gift Card to a Local Establishment

Whether you want to support your local restaurant who had to temporarily shut their doors or you want to support an independent bookstore, buying a gift card right now could help them immensely.

A gift card will give the establishment funds right away. This could help support them now if business is slow or help them to re-open later if they’ve had to close down.

Check their website to see if you can buy a gift card online so you don’t have to leave home. Even if they aren’t open to the public at the moment, they may still be able to process gift cards.

Become a Mentor at CareerVillage

If you have some extra time on your hands, consider signing up to be a mentor at CareerVillage. Sign up and explain what types of career questions you’re able to answer.

Then, when someone has a question that is related to your topic, you’ll get notified. You can respond online and share information with individuals who are interested in your career.

It’s a great way to mentor someone who is just starting out or to help guide a student who is thinking about their future career options.

Volunteer at Be My Eyes

Individuals who are blind or have low vision may need help with many things, such as reading expiration dates or distinguishing between colors. 

When you volunteer for Be My Eyes, you can help with those things by video chatting and communicating what you see. You can accept calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in your local time zone by opening the app, and you may be asked to assist with a variety of tasks.

What This Means For You

Giving to people in need right now may help you feel better about the current situation. And while it’s a little tricky to find ways to help during this crisis, you can likely find some opportunities to assist others without leaving home.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.