Hey everyone! We miss you all and hope you are doing as well as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know that it is more important than ever to stay indoors and practice social distancing.
We also know that vulnerable communities are more and more directly and negatively impacted the longer this goes. While some much needed relief is on the way thanks to the passage of the CARES Act, we all want to help our friends and neighbors more directly. And while that can be tough right now, we can. Here are some resources and ideas we’ve come across. If you have any, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to update this page accordingly (please include links and a description).
Government and Charity Assistance
First and foremost, we can let our friends and neighbors in need know how to apply for assistance programs or get basic information on organizations that are out there waiting and willing to help.
eGovernment has a list of links for various topics on the main page, but the real gem is The Right Service link. This is a site that is run by the state of Florida. A person can plug their county and then choose their area of need (medical, food, jobs, transportation, even cash assistance) and a list of government and charitable programs will appear.
For the personal touch, (and more helpful for people without internet access) much of the same information can be found by dialing 211. This is an information line run by the United Way. It’s like 411 but specifically for getting assistance. A person will listen to people explain their situation and point them to the best resources (government and charity) that can help.
Our friends over at the Self Help Desk of North Central Florida have some more resources listed on this page.
There are a number of food drives going on constantly in the local area that we can share with our friends and neighbors in need. We will hopefully list as many as we can on our webpage, so please let us know about them (links please!).
There is one that we would like to draw attention to, since it is very expansive, and that is the Alachua County School Board’s meal distribution for children 18 and under that will begin March 30 and include 72 distribution points. More information can be found on this page. A list of the locations is available here.
The best advice that we have seen is to assume that you have the coronavirus and act accordingly in order to limit exposing other people–namely by staying put. But we know our members want to do more, so here are some ideas for you.
Donate Blood: “As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services. There’s no evidence that this novel coronavirus can be transmitted through blood transfusions, according to the Red Cross. Contact the Gainesville LifeSouth Blood Center main office at (352) 224-1600 or visit their website here for locations and hours of operation.
Donate Money or Volunteer: We are going to resist advocating specific charities or organizations, but here are some resources that can help you decide:
Local: While this page, GainesvilleVolunteer, is old, and therefore may not reflect active charities, it is very comprehensive–most of the familiar names are there, along with contact information and website links so you can find out how to volunteer or make a donation.
National: (We’re taking this verbiage and links directly from this article): The charity rating sites Charity Navigator and CharityWatch have lists of vetted charities working around the world to address the outbreak, including Lutheran World Relief, Heart to Heart International, and Doctors Without Borders, which is working to evacuate refugee camps in Greece at risk of becoming outbreak zones. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy suggests donating to groups focused on “WASH” — water, sanitation and hygiene.
We hope this helps some. Please be careful out there, and we look forward to working toward flipping Florida with you all soon. Speaking of which, Indivisible National has an action we can all take to make sure Congress protects the presidential election in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for details about the The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act.