Paramedics
kali9/istockphoto

How to Help the Essential Workers on the Front Lines of the Coronavirus Fight

View Slideshow
Paramedics
kali9/istockphoto

You Can Help

As the world falls apart outside, you might be one of the many Americans sitting at home feeling helpless but wanting to do something to contribute. If you are wondering how you can make a difference, here are some ways you can help the people providing essential services without putting yourself or others at risk.

Related: COVID-19 Crisis: Ways to Help in All 50 States

Family playing at home
Drazen_/istockphoto

Stay Home

Staying home as much as possible to slow the spread of this virus is the most important thing you can do to help not only yourself but everyone else. By staying healthy and not contracting the virus or infecting others, you’re limiting the number of patients who need medical care. This reduces the strain on doctors and nurses and helps ensure that everyone who needs to be admitted to the hospital can get the care they need.

Follow Social Distancing Guidelines
GabrielPevide/istockphoto

Follow Social Distancing Guidelines

If you do have to go out, follow the social distancing guidelines for your local area. This will help slow the spread and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that, if you do need to go out, you wear a cloth face mask that covers your nose and mouth in addition to maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from other people. Avoid any group gatherings in public or in private. Avoid public transportation, and consider grocery delivery and mail-order medications.

Homemade Mask
Rike_/istockphoto

Make Masks

Personal protective equipment is still in short supply for the health-care workers who rely on it. You can help by learning how to make masks and donating them. To find organizations needing mask donations, check out this nationwide list. You can also call organizations directly to ask how you can donate masks, and find out their specifications. Additionally, you can make masks for your family and friends. Experts say more people wearing masks in public should reduce the spread of the virus and the strain on front-line workers.

N95 Mask
Maridav/istockphoto
I Can Do the Job for Much Cheaper
talipcubukcu/istockphoto

Donate Cash

Most PPE is sold out for the general public, so hospitals and front-line organizations are ordering directly through the manufacturers. Donating money can help fill this need quickly and effectively. Many hospitals have a section of their website dedicated to collecting donations, but if yours does not, you can contact the hospital or health-care system directly to ask how to donate. Time has also put together an extensive list of front-line organizations in need of donations right now.

Donations to Hospital
arlutz73/istockphoto

Donate Toiletries

Many health-care workers are relocating to help the areas that have been hit hardest. Some are spending longer than normal shifts at work, and some are even self-isolating away from their families to avoid bringing the virus home. Self-care items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, and the like are much needed. Dry hands and chapped lips and skin are often caused by prolonged time in masks and gloves, so lotion and lip balm donations are welcomed.

Food Delivery
ArtMarie/istockphoto

Have Food Delivered

Due to long hours on the job, many front-line workers don’t have the luxury of preparing healthy meals right now. Having food delivered to them is a welcome way to help. Contact the business where you’d like to donate food and request their delivery instructions prior to ordering.

Children Playing
Rawpixel/istockphoto

Offer Child Care

If someone close to you is a front-line worker, help by offering your services. With so many child-care centers closed, offering to watch their kids is one way to pitch in. If you are worried about contracting the coronavirus, or if the worker is worried about unintentionally bringing it home, you can even offer to take in their children for several weeks so they can focus on the job at hand and self-isolate while knowing that their children are safe with you.

Grocery Shopping with Mask
SbytovaMN/istockphoto

Provide Grocery Services

Another way to help is to offer to do the grocery shopping for a front-line worker you know personally. Grocery stores are hard to navigate these days, and the delivery or pickup options can be difficult to schedule. Consider offering to set up their order and pick it up for them or, if you are heading to the store, offer to do their shopping for them.

Grocery Store worker in mask
zoranm/istockphoto

Be Kind

Choose to be kind, compassionate, and understanding. Grocery shopping is admittedly frustrating these days. People are hoarding items, stores are low or out of some staples, and it’s stressful to shop and still stay 6 feet away from everyone. Realize that it’s not the fault of those working in your local grocery store. These people are trying their best to make sure you can get into the store, get what you need, and get out as safely as possible. Realize that the store employees and the delivery people are also front-line workers, and they are doing the best they can. Showing them kindness goes a long way.