While front line workers heroically take on the coronavirus, those who are staying at home quarantined can feel helpless at times. The natural impulse is to take some action. Luckily, many organizations are soliciting help from the community.
There are a wide array of organizations looking for donations. To donate locally, the Miami Herald has created a Miami Pandemic Response Fund that will directly send money where it is most needed. This includes direct aid to help individuals pay for rent, groceries, utilities, and even loans to small businesses.
To help families in Miami afford food, you can donate to a food bank like Miami Farm Share or Feeding South Florida. While Feeding South Florida accepts food donations, money better allows them to provide for the community. Miami Farm Share, providing fresh food to schoolchildren and their families, can turn a one-dollar donation into 14 pounds of food.
Families need commodities in addition to food. The Miami Diaper Bank serves low-income and homeless families that have trouble affording diapers, which are not covered by food stamps. The organization normally takes physical donations, but they are asking for money to limit transmission of the virus from touching surfaces and to take advantage of bulk pricing.
With many people furloughed or out of work and a tight job market, it is a good time to consider volunteering. Individuals with a medical background are in high demand. The Miami-Dade Medical Reserve Corps helps the county during public health emergencies and needs volunteers with medical training. In addition, hospitals need Spanish or other foreign-language speakers with a basic understanding of medical terminology to translate for patients and offer comfort.
Non-medical volunteers can also help out. The Community Emergency Operations Center is operating a hotline to inform residents about the coronavirus, staffed by volunteers. The organization also needs volunteers in the field to serve the homeless population.
Friends of Miami Dade Detainees is asking for people to write letters to immigrant detainees. The organization is looking for volunteers speaking English, Spanish, and French. The pandemic has made a hard time worse for immigrants in detention centers. In addition, the organization is asking for money to help pay for detainees’ phone calls. Visitation has been temporarily canceled and phone calls can cost up to 45 cents per minute. Donating to this fund can help immigrants stay in contact with their families.