Helping those in need during COVID-19
As COVID-19 imposes limitations on life as we knew it, it is easy to feel powerless. Many of us feel eager to contribute to the increased needs of the community, and yet it can be challenging to find opportunities to help.
We also recognize that not everyone can volunteer at this time. Many people are responding to increased demands at home. One positive offset: BeWell participants can earn an Engagement incentive by creating a “Commit to Community” or “Commit to Family” plan of action, and progress toward goals can be tracked within their BeWell profile. See this Engagement Toolkit to help you get started.
If you do think you have the time and yearning to volunteer, we’ve compiled a list of organizations to connect “helping hands” with those in need. Note: Some organizations require applications and training, while some simply require pre-registration. Most organizations are asking higher-risk populations to refrain from volunteering at this time for their own health and protection. It is especially important that volunteers continue to adhere to public health guidelines while engaging in their service work.
Stanford Community Leave Bank gives eligible employees an opportunity to donate accrued vacation leave hours from their unused balance to help their fellow employees.
Stanford Medicine has created an online tool to help flag communities at risk for a surge in cases of COVID-19. Just a few minutes could help save lives.
Institute on Aging offers a 24-hour friendship line for people 60 years and older, adults with disabilities and those feeling isolated.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly offers several volunteer opportunities, including phone check-ins to reduce isolation among older adults.
CareerVillage connects young people with volunteers who can offer insight about specific professional fields. COVID-19 has caused a spike in student questions about careers.
Crisis Text Line provides volunteer counselors to help those in crisis who are dealing with personal challenges.
The PPE Playbook is an online resource that teaches crafters to make and distribute masks for health care workers.
Mask Match collects donated masks and distributes them to healthcare providers and professionals in need during the pandemic.
On-Site Opportunities (By Region)
Oakland At Risk pairs healthy adults (with low risk factors for COVID-19) with an elder or immunocompromised member of the community in need of support during this time.
Alameda County Community Food Bank supplies meals to a variety of agencies — including soup kitchens, food pantries, child care centers and more.
Santa Clara County:
Martha’s Kitchen provides hot meals to those in need; they are offering their meals “to go” at this time.
Silicon Valley Strong is an initiative that works with volunteers to ensure food security for our most vulnerable residents.
Santa Clara County Helping Hands matches individuals at high risk for COVID-19 to low-risk local volunteers who can help deliver groceries and prescriptions and have virtual check-ins.
Stanford Blood Center collects and distributes blood to those in need. Taking just an hour to donate could save up to three lives. There is no increased risk of contracting coronavirus from visiting a donation center or mobile blood drive, and extra safety precautions are being taken to ensure the continued health of donors. There may also be an opportunity for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma to the Stanford Blood Center to help those currently infected with the coronavirus. Learn more.
San Mateo County:
San Mateo County Health is helping assist health care providers/facilities responding to COVID-19 by collecting and providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley works to ensure that anyone who needs a healthy meal can get one in both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
San Francisco-Marin Food Bank provides food for more than 141,000 people every week and is experiencing increased demand due to COVID-19.
Food Runners works to reduce hunger and waste by picking up excess perishable and prepared food and delivering it directly to neighborhood food programs.
Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz is pairing volunteers with community organizations and vulnerable individuals in response to COVID-19.
On-Site Opportunities (throughout CA)
Mon Ami works to reduce social isolation in senior citizens by offering friendly phone calls, tech help over the phone, and virtual concerts.
Local food banks secure and distribute meals through food pantries and meal programs to reduce hunger in the United States.
Meals on Wheels delivers warm meals to those in need. They have been experiencing increased demand during this time.
For Healthcare professionals:
CA Health Corps offers medical disaster response relief by connecting health professionals to a public health need.
All for Good offers many virtual and on-site volunteer opportunities to support the COVID-19 needs during this time.
Catchafire matches professionals based on their interests and skills to organizations in need.
Hands on Bay Area has compiled a list of ways to volunteer, including food banks, food pantries, deliveries and more.
California Volunteers is identifying high-priority needs in California and matching them with local volunteers.
VolunteerMatch has composed a library of virtual and on-site volunteer opportunities to aid communities impacted by COVID-19.
AARP’s Create the Good offers a searchable database of hundreds of volunteer roles to help the community from home.
See also the Stanford Cardinal at Work list of volunteer opportunities that can help you connect and give back to the Stanford community and greater Bay Area.