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Don't be selfish during coronavirus. How to help hospitals, restaurants and people in need

por Santo Elisha (2020-04-20)

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Support your local restaurants by ordering take out, gift cards, or other merch.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.
An urgent shortage of N95 face masks in hospitals, stock in blood banks and volunteers for food banks is creating very real road blocks for the first responders who are providing care and food to people in need during the coronavirus outbreak. Since many states are ordering or urging residents to stay home, knowing how to volunteer and donate is key -- especially when you're social distancing.

While the world braces for cases of the COVID-19 disease to swell and 할인 for the economic and social impacts to fully make themselves known, read on for ways you can act -- from donating personal protective equipment to hospitals to remote volunteering or sending a letter to a stranger just to let them know you're there. 

Do you have ideas for ways to help out? Share them in the comments below.

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Hospitals need N95 masks, hand sanitizer and more
Hospitals are running low on personal protective equipment (PPE) and are in need of items like N95 respirator masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and liquids, soaps, goggles and disposable gloves. If you have an abundance of any of these items in your home or see some at the store, your area hospital could use your help. 

This database circulating on Twitter lists hospitals and the kind of supplies you can donate. If you have extra items at home, call your hospital or donation center and ask if and how they're accepting donations.

Food banks: Donate money and food, volunteer

With school closures, mandates to shut non-essential businesses and projected unemployment, food banks across the country are expecting to see an increase in demand.  Many, like the Food Bank For New York City, are posting urgent requests for donations and volunteer hours -- carefully. Senior citizens, families that rely on school meals and low-income or hourly workers are the most affected groups. 

A $1 monetary donation usually provides between two and five meals, depending on the food bank.

Feeding America is another source for food banks across the country that are seeking financial support as part of its response to COVID-19. 

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Offer to pick up groceries for your neighbors.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

You can also donate canned or other shelf-stable foods like dried beans and pasta, but check your local food bank's protocols first. For example, the SF Marin Food Bank asks that you use your own collection containers and that you deliver the food to one of its warehouses in person. They won't be picking up donations at this time.

Food banks and soup kitchens also need volunteers to pack and serve food and clean the facilities. If you're in a low-risk demographic and don't have contact with people over 60 years old and those with underlying health conditions, signing up for shifts (with the proper precautions) is a significant way to help.

Volunteer remotely
Many organizations have remote volunteer opportunities that you can do from home. For example, Alone is an organization that provides companionship to the elderly. You can become a telephone volunteer where you call and check-in at least two hours each week. (See more ways to help senior citizens below.)

iCouldBe is a student mentorship program where you dedicate one hour each week for the school year. The program provides you with online activities and conversation starters. This could be especially helpful to students who are completing the year as distance learners, and need extra assistance with resources and tutoring -- or an extra friend. 

You could also volunteer for Crisis Text Line, where you would be a remote crisis counselor. The organization is asking for volunteers especially between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. PT. The service includes free training on how to answer texts from people who reach out.

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