We're All In This Together
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20 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference in the Pandemic

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We're All In This Together
Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

We're All In This Together

You want to help, but it's tough to know where to start or what to do when you're stuck at home and feel cut off from the world. But there are a number of ways to make this new (and not-so-great) world order easier for both those close to you and others whom we may not know personally but who need our help now more than ever. Whether it's donating time and money to any number of organizations or offering support to those in your own community, we've put together this list of ways you can help, many of which cost nothing.

Related: Is Your State Doing Enough to Combat the Coronavirus?

Donate to Local Medical Facilities
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Donate to Local Medical Facilities

Hospitals and clinics are facing shortages of basic supplies. Many are setting up fundraisers on Facebook to help address those shortfalls. Call your local healthcare facilities to find out if they need monetary donations or other help — that box of masks or gloves you have sitting around at home could help save a life. 

Give to Specific Organizations
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Give to Specific Organizations

Donate to organizations like Direct Relief, which is coordinating with public health authorities, nonprofit organizations, and others to provide protective equipment and other essential medical items to health workers responding to the coronavirus. Another option is the Center for Disaster Philanthropy Covid-19 Response Fund, which is supporting "preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities for those affected and for the responders."

Donate Blood
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Donate Blood

There's a blood shortage right now, so an easy way for most to help is to find their local donation center and go give blood. The American Red Cross has a widget on its homepage right now that lets you enter your ZIP code and make an appointment.

Donate to Your Local Food Bank
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Donate to Your Local Food Bank

Coronavirus has negatively impacted food bank donations at just the time when more and more people will be relying on them. Find your local food bank at Feeding America, and if you don't have one nearby, you can give directly to Feeding America.

Designate a Charity on Amazon
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Designate a Charity on Amazon

Many of us are doing a lot of shopping on Amazon these days, whether it's for groceries, household essentials, or just something to stave off the boredom. If you haven't already done so, designate a hunger-relief or disaster-preparedness organization through the Amazon Smile program.

Donate Through GoFundMe
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Donate Through GoFundMe

The crowdfunding platform has set up a Covid-19 Relief Fund. Money donated here will "directly support individuals affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the organizations working to keep people safe, find a cure, or support their communities."

Donate Sick or Vacation Days
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Donate Sick or Vacation Days

If you have weeks of vacation time built up, find out if your workplace has a Leave Donation Program, which is a way for workers with a surplus of paid time off to donate it to a coworker who might be without pay due to illness or other reasons.

Donate to an Animal Shelter
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Donate to an Animal Shelter

Our pets are doing a lot of the heavy lifting these days when it comes to keeping spirits up. Repay that kindness by donating to a local animal shelter. Many have had to cancel fundraising and other events and are in need of funds. If you can't give money, consider fostering or even adopting a pet — they're great companions and truly make the pandemic feel less difficult.

Use Your Talents for Good
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Use Your Talents for Good

If you can sew and have extra fabric lying around, you can help create much-needed masks for medical professionals. Fabrics and crafts store JoAnn has partnered with Neiman Marcus on tutorials and other resources. The retailer says that more than 11 million homemade masks have already been donated. Another idea is to do something like what New Jersey photographer Stacey Gabriel did. Gabriel recently finished a project that involved taking front-porch portraits of families in her neighborhood in exchange for donations of non-perishables.

Sign Up to Help Through Your State
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Sign Up to Help Through Your State

Many if not all states have set up Covid-19 response sites where you can donate money or offer to volunteer in your area.

Touch Base With Elderly Neighbors
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Touch Base With Elderly Neighbors

Call your senior neighbors to check in on them and see if they need anything from the store or otherwise. Or just lend an ear in case they're feeling lonely or overwhelmed, and let them know they're not alone. 

Extend Your Shopping Services to Others
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Extend Your Shopping Services to Others

If you're running essential errands like going to the grocery, pet, or liquor store, touch base with friends and neighbors to see if you can pick up anything for them. Picking up items for those in your circle while running your own errands extends social-distancing that much more.

Related: These Grocery Stores Have Special Hours for Seniors and Other At-Risk Shoppers

Thank a Medical Professional
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Thank a Medical Professional

Nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals are quite literally putting their lives on the line right now in order to do their jobs. If you know someone who works in the healthcare field right now, reach out to them, say thank you, and make sure they're doing okay. 


Thank a Teacher
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Thank a Teacher

Teachers have been working overtime to dive into the world of virtual education. They're figuring out how to make technology work for them and their students and retooling lesson plans to help bring some normalcy back to kids' lives. They deserve our gratitude and acknowledgment in the best of times — right now they could probably use that from us even more.

Buy a Restaurant Bond (or Gift Card)
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Buy a Restaurant Bond (or Gift Card)

Many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat right now. Even if you're not ordering takeout or delivery, you can help by visiting the Dining Bonds Initiative website — an ingenious idea set up by a collective of restaurant industry professionals — and purchasing a bond that can be used when all of this is behind us. If you don't see your favorite local restaurant signed up yet, let them know it exists and/or ask if you can purchase a gift card instead.

Leave a Big Tip
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Leave a Big Tip

That person bringing groceries to your car or delivering dinner to your house is working through the pandemic, continuing to do their job as an "essential worker." Show them you appreciate them by opening up your wallet just a bit wider.

Join the Local Facebook Group
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Join a Facebook Group Supporting Local Businesses

Many communities have set up Facebook groups to help pinpoint the local restaurants, retailers, and so on that are still open and need your business to stay afloat. Join them, and see what you can do to help. 

Outdoor Art
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Create Some Uplifting Outdoor Art

If you've got sidewalk chalk lying around, head outside to write uplifting messages for your neighbors to read on their walks. It's a spirit-lifter for everyone, but it's especially good for children to see messages of support and positivity. 

Organize a Neighborhood 'Hunt'
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Organize a Neighborhood 'Hunt'

Communities all over America have been organizing "bear," "shamrock," and other hunts for neighborhood children. You can arrange an activity like this through sites like Nextdoor or Facebook. The idea is that participants draw shamrocks or gather up teddy bears and place them in or near a window, then kids on walks with their parents look for them. Arrange one for Easter using Easter eggs. 

Organize a Virtual Meetup
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Organize a Virtual Meetup

We could all use a bit more community right now. Reach out to friends and family and organize a virtual happy hour or coffee klatch to touch base and bring some laughter, light, and support into the lives of those you love. Tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts make it easy to set something up.

Related: 22 Essential Remote-Work Tools for Your Business