As the coronavirus pandemic has swept not only the United States but the world, healthcare workers and those on the frontlines helping to keep everyone safe are the heroes in this crisis.
And yes, doing our part to stay home and maintain our social distance from one another contributes to the effort of flattening the curve, but the nurses, doctors and anyone who suits up everyday to help those who are infected, are doing the real work and deserve infinite amounts of gratitude.
From clapping for healthcare workers in New York to recognizing their amazing work by lighting up Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue in a doctor’s uniform, people all around the world are eager to honor the brave workers tasked with taking care of us.
Below are more ways you can help healthcare workers and first responders while we all work to get through these difficult times.
Buy a Mask That’ll Help Others Too
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone wear a mask in public to prevent them from unintentionally spreading the virus. While the CDC does not recommend people go out and buy N95 masks, which are in high demand in the medical community, the agency says people should cover their mouths and noses with a cloth covering.
That’s where the MaskClub comes in, a subscription-based service that donates a mask to the First Responders Children’s Foundation — an organization that helps families of first responders — for every one that is sold. Masks come in fun designs that will hopefully spark a smile among healthcare workers or patients.
Buy a Healthcare Worker a Meal
Doctors and nurses are busy to start with, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made “being busy” an understatement. Not only is finding time to eat not the easiest endeavor, but getting a nutritious meal can sometimes go by the wayside.
Communities across the country, however, are stepping up to feed these essential workers and support local businesses in the process. In New York City, people can buy everything from nutritious meals to indulgences like cult-favorite Dough Doughnuts to send to hospital workers. Local chain Everyman Espressoknows everyone could use a coffee pick-me-up, allowing customers to purchase boxes of coffee to send to essential workers, including healthcare workers, grocery store cashiers, and drugstore clerks.
In New Orleans, the NOLA Doc Project delivers food from local businesses in the area to medical residents in hospitals, fundraising for the effort through a GoFundMe page.
Donate Personal Protective Equipment
While companies have stepped up to source and donate protective equipmentlike masks to healthcare workers who need it, it seems you can never have enough of the disposable equipment. Mask Crusaders aims to directly connect people like artists and laborers who may have extra protective equipment (everything from face shields to gloves, clothing coverings, and N95 masks) with institutions in need. The program operates in more than two dozen cities.
Care for First Responders’ Kids
Babysitting site Sittercity is offering essential workers in Chicago three free months of the company’s premium membership. Volunteers who are 18 years old or older and good with kids can sign up for the Chicago responds program to offer services to first responders who need help. Parents can also utilize the site’s enhanced background check for free as part of the program.
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Michaell Chang, who had been in critical condition with the novel coronavirus, elbow bumps his doctor, Dr. Raymond Lee, after being released from Providence St. John’s Health Center. MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES
Fundraising campaigns like the CDC Foundation’s Combat Coronavirus platform work to raise money to provide healthcare workers with everything from specialized equipment and supplies as well as deploy emergency staffing. Similarly, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO helps the organization track the spread of the virus as well as aids in research and development of treatments and a potential vaccine.
Stay at Home
This one is simple, obvious, and has been said over and over (see above), but is worth repeating: Stay home. The easiest thing we can do to help healthcare workers and other essential workers who have to go to work each day is to stay off the streets and not create crowds. This cuts down on the potential to infect other people and lessens the burden on the healthcare system. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do while home to pass the time (aside from working, of course): Try a virtual museum tour, go on a vacation and have a beer, or opt for thrills with virtual Disney rides.