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  • Writer's picture Kalpana Ravulapati

Ways Give Back to the Community During COVID-19

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

The past couple of week's events around the country and the ongoing pandemic have me focused on giving back to our communities. I love to find ways to make a positive impact both on my platforms and offline. In the past few years, I've become passionate about volunteering, fundraising, and donating to various causes and take pride at work to lead and organize community initiatives. The more I give, the more I feel happy. During these chaotic times, it's all I can think about, so I've put together ways you can contribute back to the community.

9 Ways Give Back to the Community During the Pandemic:

Cardz for Kidz is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards. NS staff can create memorable cards with your personal touch for these rock star kids (family activity especially if you have children)! Send all cards to Cardz for Kidz! 323 East Wacker Drive #11, Chicago, IL 60601

2. Lost Larsen - Andersonville (Chicago, IL)

Lost Larsen is a bakery in Andersonville. They have a Neighborhood Loaves program that allows you to donate loaves of their delicious bread to community members in need. Buy a loaf of bread for a neighbor in need! When you purchase this loaf, it will be distributed through the Greater Chicago Food Depository to community members in need of bread. This triple whammy of an opportunity does the following things that are sure to make you feel good: 1.) Supports area grain farmers that are protecting our natural resources and fueling thriving rural economies. 2.) Keeps mill and bakery staff employed and rent paid. 3.) Feeds community members healthful, locally produced bread. Send a loaf of fresh-baked bread through Lost Larsen

3. Feeding America - Greater Chicago Food Depository

a. At this moment our greatest need is volunteers for Repack sessions and Fresh Trucks. We receive donated food in bulk, and volunteers are needed to “repack” that food into portions that can be distributed at our local partner agencies. We are currently packing boxes of shelf-stable food for families impacted by the CPS closure. Fresh Trucks are mobile food pantries that distribute food at locations across Chicago. We are only able to accept volunteers aged 18 – 60 at this time, due to CDC recommendations regarding high-risk individuals.

You can sign up for a session directly through our online calendar. Select the date and session from the calendar. A page will pop up with an option in the lower right corner for “group signup” or “individual sign up.” We are currently unable to accept group registrations, and all volunteers will be accepted as individuals on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please choose the individual option and create your profile. You will receive an email confirmation when you are finished.

At the moment we are taking the following precautions in regard to COVID-19:

All volunteers should be aged 18 – 60, in keeping with the CDC’s guidelines regarding high-risk individuals.

Volunteers who have traveled to certain areas within the past 14 days, or who have experienced any symptoms of illness within the last 14 days are not permitted to attend any sessions at this time.

We have increased our already high sanitation levels, and are wiping down all surfaces several times per day.

Volunteers wash hands and wear gloves at all repack shifts. The CDC only requires masks for those who are currently sick or working with the sick, so we are not providing masks at this time.

We are following social distancing guidelines and spacing volunteers out throughout our warehouse space. When you line up to check in, please help us by standing six feet away from other volunteers.

To reduce the use of our public lockers, please only bring the essentials with you into the building (jacket and keys).

b. If individuals would like to volunteer remotely, we also have a Social Ambassadors program where volunteers can spread the word about our work on social media. More information and how to sign up can be found here.

c. If individuals would like to donate or hold a virtual food drive, more information can be found here.

When you buy a meal at INVICTO, we provide a school meal to a child living in poverty. You eat, they eat. Their goal is to raise $100,000 to help provide school meals to kids living in poverty. Donate and Fundraise. (Locations: Naperville, Vernon Hills, Chicago coming soon - Catering available)

5. Unicef USA

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. UNICEF is on the front lines, fighting the novel coronavirus with supplies, support, and lifesaving information. Volunteer here as an online activist or donate for the current cause to fight against COVID-19

6. HumankindNOW

HumankindNOW puts every dollar donated into finding, funding, and delivering Personal Protective Equipment to workers on the front line so that they can stay safe while saving lives. Donate here to help frontline workers

7. Frontline Foods

Frontline Foods feeds crisis workers through local restaurants. Their army of volunteers raises funds from the community to support local restaurants and feed heroes working on the frontlines. Volunteer your skills here to help frontline workers and local restaurants

8. Abercrombie & Fitch x thredUP

They’ve partnered with thredUp to reduce their impact on the planet by extending the life of clothing. When you’re ready to pare down or part with old favorites, order an A&F x thredUP Clean Out Kit and turn your gently used clothes into Abercrombie shopping credit.

9. Everlane

a. They launched the 100% Human collection to support two things that matter to them: protecting human rights and remembering that we are more similar than we are different. For every 100% Human product sold, Everlane is proud to donate 100% of the profits to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. #HumanTogether

b. Shop the 100% Human collection Face masks that support the ACLU. The ACLU is working to demand racial justice, defend LGBTQ+ rights, and protect our right to protest. Since 2016, Everlane has raised over $600K for the ACLU, in support of their tireless work protecting our civil liberties.

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