Food Bank Donation Gift Basket Photo by Michiko Yoon

How to Help Your Neighbors During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the coronavirus crisis, I have seen a lot of fear, anxiety, people hoarding food and toilet paper. I have also seen beautiful stories of people helping each other in this time of need. 

This past month, my family and I have been staying home, never leaving the house except to take walks around our neighborhood. Being isolated from others has given me a lot of time to think about how we can help our neighbors during this time.

Stories of Hope and Community

A seven-year-old boy collected over 6,000 face masks, caps and disposable gloves to donate to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

One man paid for all the groceries of the people waiting in line in front of him at a grocery store in Virginia, and he let the register go up to $2,523.32. Another newspaper deliveryman decided to leave a note with each newspaper saying that he would deliver groceries free of charge to anyone who needed it. Those were two uplifting stories in the Washington Post in the past few weeks.

Another restaurant owner decided that he would convert his Fairfax diner into a community pantry where anyone could pick up essential items like rice, pasta, bread, toilet paper and bandages.

A couple in Northern Virginia started a nonprofit called the VA 30 Day Fund to help small business owners and save their workers from layoffs.

The VA 30 Day Fund is “working with other business leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many Virginia jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.” The organization is offering forgivable loans of up to $3,000 to businesses that apply and have their application approved.

If you would like more inspiration for ways to help in your community, check out the Obama Foundation Stories of Hope: Coronavirus Relief Response. There, there are all sorts of stories of people coming together to help others, in small and big ways.

Ways to Help in Fairfax County

Think of the ways you can help in your community. 

What contacts and abilities do you have to help the most vulnerable, the homebound, the elderly, the parents and families are struggling after losing their jobs during the coronavirus crisis?

  • Pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor down the street. 
  • Donate unopened face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to hospitals and doctor’s offices.  
  • Donate life-saving blood.  There has been a shortage of donors.
  • Donate money or nonperishable goods to food banks like United Community and Catholic Charities St. Lucy Project, organizations that are providing food to many struggling families 
  • Buy gift cards or curbside pickup from your local restaurants, farmers market vendors and shops

The Fairfax County Ways to Help During COVID-19 resource page has many ways to get started, whether donating supplies to hospitals and food banks or volunteering time where it is most needed.

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