10 Ways to Give Back, Despite COVID-19

Posted 1/13/2021

Supporting our communities isn’t as easy as it used to be. But regardless of the current pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to express your gratitude.

Help a senior. Older citizens find it tough to stay connected in normal times, and COVID-19 has made it even harder. Check on an elderly neighbor. Ask if he or she needs a hand – and then ask how you can best be helpful. Maybe you can deliver groceries, pick up prescriptions, or simply join via Zoom for a weekly chat or game of chess.

If you don’t know a senior on your block, you can help someone in need by donating to the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and sending a holiday card. Learn more here or call 800-427-7411.


2| Give blood. Every two seconds, an accident victim, surgery patient, or cancer patient needs blood. If you’re healthy, make an appointment with an American Red Cross donation center or blood drive to donate blood, platelet, or plasma. Because every donation is tested for COVID-19 antibodies, your donation could also help someone battling COVID-19. Donation centers follow strict safety protocols. Find a drive or call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).



3| Put litter in its place. Pick a neighborhood block or a section of road you travel frequently and make it yours to care for. This simple act keeps your community looking good and protects natural resources. Make your efforts go even farther by turning money back from reclaimed bottles and cans into donations for a green cause. Pro tip: Check out this re-usable clean up kit from United by Blue, complete with machine-washable trash collection bag and protective gloves.


4| Put food on someone’s table. Maine’s Good Shephard Food Bank has worked with its 500+ partner food pantries to provide 11.6 million meals between March and June this year, and bought $3.7 million worth of food to meet rising hunger, resulting from the ongoing pandemic. Donate here or call 207-782-3554.

In the Granite State, the New Hampshire Food Bank collects and distributes food to people in need. Every dollar can provide two meals, which means even small donation go a long way. Donate here or call 603-669-9725.



5| Support your favorite nonprofit. Organizations everywhere have been forced to cancel or significantly adapt events they count on for critical funding. Whether your thing is helping kids read, protecting the coast, preserving history, protecting rainforest, or supporting veterans, the organization close to your heart will wholeheartedly appreciate your gift.


6 | Help an animal in need. Many have welcomed new pets over the last several months, but shelters and rescuers still need help. In a recent USA Today story, the Humane Society said they anticipate an influx of dogs and cats as more people get ill or face financial hardship that prevents them from caring for pets. Consider adopting or fostering. Ask if your local shelter needs supplies or food donations. Try the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals search tool to find a dog shelter or cat shelter near you.


7 | Volunteer. While COVID-19 has certainly made volunteering more complicated, there are still ways to pitch in in-person. In Maine, organizations that provide essential services are currently permitted to round up feet on the ground. Visit Maine Helps and scroll down to “Help by donating,” or visit Maine Ready. To find volunteering opportunities in New Hampshire, visit VolunteerNH or call 603-271-7200.


8 | Help restaurants. Even where closures aren’t in place, many in the food service industry are struggling to stay afloat. How can you help? Buy a gift card. Order takeout (be extra patient in case staff are learning new systems). See if your favorite restaurant is accepting “tips” through Venmo. Give to a relief fund like ReUp ME the Maine Restaurant Relief Fund.


9 | Fight COVID-19. Give back to your community by looking out for the health of those around you. Understand how COVID-19 spreads. Wash your hands often. Keep your distance. Wear a mask in public. Get a flu shot. To learn more, review the complete CDC guidelines here.


10 | Thank frontline workers. Take a moment to share your gratitude with people who provide essential services. COVID-screeners and testers, mail carriers, grocery checkout clerks, trash collectors, health care workers, delivery people – the list goes on!