14 Ways You Can Support NYC During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Take a slow, deep breath. And another. As many as you need. As the coronavirus upends our lives, it’s understandable to feel anxious and uncertain. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s this: New Yorkers know how to handle a crisis. We’re going to get through this. Together. Here are 14 ways you can help.

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1. We know you know, but wash your hands and take social distancing seriously.

2. Check on your neighbors (from a safe distance), especially your elderly ones, by texting, calling, even slipping a note under their door if you don’t have their number. (But please skip the note-slipping part if you’re self-quarantining or feeling any symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever, shortness of breath or coughing.)

3. Donate blood. The American Red Cross is currently facing a blood shortage. You can make an appointment on their website.

4. Order takeout, if you’re comfortable with that, and tip at least what you would if you were dining in.

5. Help ensure food-insecure New Yorkers have healthy meals through a monetary donation to Citymeals, Feeding America or Food Bank of NYC.

6. Or, if you’re healthy and haven’t been exposed to the coronavirus, donate your time by volunteering to cook meals, put meals together or help deliver meals with God’s Love We Deliver.

7. Many Meals on Wheels chapters are also facing a shortage of volunteers and are looking for healthy volunteers who can be on call. Find your local chapter here.

girl walking dog in nyc

8. If you can afford it, continue paying your housekeeper, dog walker, babysitter, etc., even if they’re not working for you at the moment.

9. If you’re headed to the grocery store, offer to shop for any of your neighbors who might need help. Not sure who does? Many NYC neighborhoods are using Facebook, NextDoor and other social platforms to create volunteer lists.

10. While you’re planning your supermarket run, call your local food bank and find out what they need.

11. Ditto that for your local homeless shelter.

12. Small businesses are struggling right now. Shop online if that’s available, or buy a gift certificate to your favorite local boutiques and restaurants. It gives the businesses the cash theylikely need right now to keep their bills paid while their foot traffic is down.

13. Reach out to a local senior from a safe distance. Telephone reassurance programs offered by many Meals on Wheels chapters use volunteers to keep in touch with seniors. Find your local chapter here.

14. Prepare for future volunteer opportunities. We don’t know what the next few days, weeksor even months will bring, but New York Cares is holding digital volunteer orientations right now so that you can volunteer later.

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Freelance PureWow Editor