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How (and Where) to Donate Money During the Coronavirus Outbreak

By supporting any of these organizations you will be helping those most affected by Covid-19.

Woman in a medical mask. Shutterstock

Covid-19 is officially a global pandemic. People are flocking to grocery stores to stock up on essentials. Public schools––where many students receive their only meals of the day––have been shut down around the country. The stock market is on shaky ground, and working from home has quickly become the new normal. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the constant stream of updates, all while feeling powerless to change anything for the better. However, there are plenty of organizations doing important work right now to help those most affected by the virus. Below are 15 ways you can make a difference by donating to support those efforts.

1. Supporting Restaurants and Local Businesses via Online Donations and Gift Cards

With many shops, restaurants and bars operating with truncated hours or closing to the public entirely, this period will be hard on many small businesses. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to support them. Even if your local haunt has temporarily shut its doors, you can see if they have an online retail presence where you can purchase the same or similar goods. Buy gift cards for your favorite restaurants and order take-out if that option remains available. And if you get things delivered, consider tipping a little extra.

Nationally, the One Fair Wage Emergency Fund will distribute cash donations to tipped workers, including servers, delivery drivers and more. And the Dining Bonds initiative offers restaurant supporters a chance to buy a $100 “bond” for $75 and then redeem it, like a gift card, for full value at a future date.


2. CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Defense Fund

Set up in the midst of the spreading pandemic, the foundation is raising funds to help communities prevent and detect Covid-19, deploy emergency staff and deliver food and medical supplies to those in need who are isolated.


3. GlobalGiving

The organization is using donations to send doctors, nurses and other first responders to communities in need. They will deliver essentials to the elderly and struggling families in quarantined cities. Any donations will also be put towards purchasing protective masks, ventilators and other medical supplies.


4. Save the Children

In early February, Save the Children delivered 36,000 face masks to health workers in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter, and the organization has continued to make donations aimed at helping health workers. As its name implies, the charity is focused on the needs of children, and it acts proactively to support the care of the world’s most vulnerable youth.


5. Meals on Wheels

Senior citizens are a high-risk population when it comes to the Covid-19 virus. As such, many seniors are staying in to avoid undue social interactions, while many others are homebound regardless. Meals on Wheels brings much-needed food to the elderly so they can stay inside, in the comfort and safety of their homes.


6. Direct Relief

Direct Relief is partnering with government officials and health experts globally to coordinate a response to the coronavirus outbreak. So far, through its vast infrastructure, the organization has made supply deliveries to 22 countries, which have included more than 1 million medical gloves, masks and other protective gear.


7. United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund

The United Nations’ response fund is the first of its kind for the international body. Donations will be used to better track and understand the spread of the virus, so that workers and patients alike receive the information and care they require. Your donation will also be used to help research and accelerate the development of treatments.


8. Heart to Heart International

Infectious disease control is an area of expertise for Heart to Heart, and the organization has already sent crisis response teams to far-flung locations, such as the Marshall Islands, to support planning, preparedness and training. Donations will support those efforts.


9. Feeding America

Hunger is, unfortunately, a perennial problem, but it is made much worse when many social services and local institutions—such as public schools—are forced to close. Feeding America is the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, and it is currently stepping into high gear as it funnels food to food pantries across the country.


10. Gates Philanthropy Partners

The Gates Foundation has already committed $100 million to fighting coronavirus, but it’s using all donations to help support its effort to swiftly develop a vaccine and treatment through its network of medical research partners.


11. Americares

In addition to providing protective personal equipment, Americares is also deploying experienced professionals to train health workers on the front lines. Over three tons of supplies have already been sent to China with more on the way to cities through the US.


12. American Red Cross

Possibly the most well-known disaster relief organization in the world, the Red Cross is playing a critical role in collecting blood needed for patients reeling from the coronavirus. Even if you’re unable to donate blood, financial donations can still be made to support organizational efforts to address the crisis.


13. Child Foundation

Iran has been among the hardest-hit nations in terms of the sheer number of coronavirus cases. Child Foundation is addressing the urgent need for medical supplies in the country’s hospitals by providing everything from face shields to ventilators.


14. Partners in Health

Partners in Health has gained invaluable experience responding to infectious outbreaks across the globe. The organization is now launching a coordinated, multi-pronged effort to respond to the coronavirus in the world’s most vulnerable areas.


15. Homeless Shelters

People struggling with homelessness are already among society’s most vulnerable. Lack of access to hygiene facilities puts them at even greater risk during this outbreak. Shelters everywhere are in need of supplies and food as they work to house people in the safest and healthiest (read: uncramped) conditions possible.

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