The coronavirus outbreak in the United States has prompted local and state governments to close schools, restaurants and businesses in an effort to keep virus cases from surging and overwhelming an already strained health care system.
Hard hit areas have imposed even tougher restrictions, issuing stay-at-home orders for residents and banning all social gatherings, large and small. The policies have led to mass layoffs with job losses mounting.
New claims for unemployment soared around the country last week, indicating how deeply shutdowns related to the coronavirus are cutting into the workforce and the economy. The fallout has also highlighted how many Americans are only one disaster away from economic ruin.
While many await federal and state assistance to reach them, there are organizations stepping up to help the most vulnerable get through the crisis now. That also includes health care workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, who are treating patients without adequate protective gear because of limited supplies of face masks, gowns and shields.
Below is a list of organizations working to help those impacted by the virus:
American Red Cross, which provides about 40% of the nation's blood supply, has asked for blood donations to make up for a sudden shortage due to canceled blood drives. Healthy individuals can find where to donate blood here.
BStrong provides "real-time emergency assistance to people in crisis." Founder and TV personality Bethenny Frankel has partnered with Global Empowerment Mission to distribute N95 masks, gloves and full body protective gear to health care workers nationwide. To donate to their COVID-19 response fund click here. To donate directly to the COVID-19 NYC Family Fund, which is giving cash cards to low-income parents in NYC to help support expenses due to school closures, click here.
Boys and Girls Club of America is helping feed kids in the U.S. and providing academic support via virtual classes and activities by giving students access to its premiere online learning platform with its national partner Comcast Universal. You can donate here.
Feed the Children works with local organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide meals, clean water and much-needed supplies to low-income children. As more school districts close, millions of students across the U.S. may go without free lunches and breakfasts they receive at schools. Feed the Children says the crisis will put a strain on their resources and the resources of its local partners. To help feed the children, donate here.
First Book provides books and educational material to kids in low-income communities who can't access the Internet while schools and libraries are shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. Help them deliver books by donating here.
James Beard Foundation's Food and Beverage Relief Fund is providing financial assistance to small, independent restaurants so that they can maintain operating costs and keep from going out of business. To give to the JBF, click here.
No Kid Hungry has partnered with Save the Children to provide grants to schools, food banks and community groups feeding children in need. You can donate here. Organizations in need can apply for emergency grants here.
Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation is providing direct financial assistance to restaurant workers, aid to organizations serving restaurant workers in crisis and zero-interest loans for restaurants to get back up and running. Donate to the RWCF's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund here.
World Central Kitchen feeds victims of natural disasters and in crisis-stricken areas around the world. Founded by chef José Andrés WCK is delivering meals to communities in need and has launched a network of #ChefsforAmerica Community Kitchens across the country that will offer low-cost or free meals to families in need. Donate to WCK here.