How to feed the hungry, protect health professionals, aid refugees and support service workers during the pandemic

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CNN's Impact Your World has ways you can help those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 9:50 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 9:50 PM

As the fight against the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, so does the strain felt across society. Impact Your World has gathered some ways you can help ease the pressure.

Feeding the hungry

As schools shut down and shift to online learning, some kids in low-income households are losing access to free meals at school. The USDA is working to extend some free meal services, and several non-profits are helping fill the gap. You can find out how to help them here.

Meanwhile, food banks across the US are gearing up for increased need. Feeding America has set up a COVID-19 Response Fund to support its network of 200 food banks nationwide. The group is also setting up more mobile, "drive-through" distribution points and taking care to ensure that vulnerable populations like those experiencing homelessness have access to food and hygiene.

Older adults are among the most vulnerable during this pandemic. Meals on Wheels provides home delivery of food to seniors. The organization faces an increased need for volunteers and donations right now. Many regular Meals on Wheels volunteers are more than 60 years old.

Protecting healthcare workers

Frontline healthcare workers are particularly at risk, and a shortage of protective equipment is impacting their response and safety.

The World Health Organization, UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation jointly have created the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Donations to this fund will go towards financing diagnostic tests, supplies for health workers and support for research and development.

International Medical Corps is working with the World Health Organization, ministries of health and global and local organizations to provide training, supplies and emergency medical response planning in high-risk locations.

Doctors Without Borders is actively replenishing supplies and other specialized protective equipment to Wuhan Jinyintan hospital in the capital city of China's Hubei province. Also, the group has a health education project in Hong Kong to provide information to vulnerable communities and service workers about how to identify symptoms and protect themselves from the disease.

Direct Relief is providing protective equipment to health authorities, non-profits, and businesses in the US and China in response to the pandemic.

Aiding refugees

The coronavirus can thrive among groups of people fleeing conflicts or political unrest in places like Yemen, Syria and Venezuela. Displaced families are often confined to overcrowded camps which can be hotbeds for disease.

The International Rescue Committee is scaling up its response in these areas: providing additional protective gear, increasing funding to minimize supply chain disruptions and bringing in more medical staff across affected areas. Oxfam is increasing the delivery of soap, clean water and other sanitation services.

Mercy Corps, in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon and Yemen, is helping with clean water and other essential support for sanitation and hygiene. They are also continuing their efforts to provide basic needs to Syrians fleeing conflict.

Supporting service workers

Service sectors, including travel and hospitality, are suddenly choked by financial hardship. The Salvation Army is expecting increased emergency financial aid requests from low-wage workers or laid-off employees struggling to make ends meet.

The Giving Kitchen is supporting food service workers in the state of Georgia. The non-profit helps those in crisis due to an unexpected illness, injury, death or disaster.

The United Way has established the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support communities affected by the virus. The fund is set to help keep families in their homes who are currently in a financial crisis, stock foodbanks with essential staples to help feed children who rely on schools for meals.

If you would like to donate to a specific non-profit, you can click on the names of the charities in the article. If you would like to support all the organizations making a difference, click on the button below.

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