Covid-19 Engagement Ideas
We are currently facing a global crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few ideas of ways to support the people who are most affected by the crisis.
Information about how COIV-19 disproportionately affects certain groups (including the most disenfranchised in the U.S.): The homeless, elderly & immunocompromised humans, low-income workers, black Americans, victims of domestic violence, migrant farmworkers & health-care workers
Donate money or physical goods: If you have the means, or the materials, consider donating to local shelters, food rescue services, and public health centers in your area.
- Colorado Springs Food Rescue, one of CC’s High Impact Partners, is ramping up their efforts to support food distribution programs in Colorado Springs as other food distribution programs (6+) in the city have closed. They are asking for material and monetary donations to help assist their expansions and coverage at this time.
- Material donation needs include: Nitrile food service gloves, Sanitation supplies (hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes, lysol, rubbing alcohol), Bulk amounts of reusable grocery bags & cardboard boxes for distributing food.
- Springs Rescue Mission, a Colorado Springs non-profit we often visit for BreakOut trips, is in emergency operations trying to care and provide for homeless folks in the area with hot meals, showers, and beds to sleep in. They are the largest low-barrier shelter in Colorado Springs. Donate here.
- Material donation needs include: hand sanitizer, laundry pods, paper plates and bowls, foam cups, napkins, plastic forks and spoons, antibacterial cleaning wipes, scanning thermometers, toilet paper, and bath towels
- Colorado College has started a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support students who need financial support during this time. To contribute, you can donate through this link.
- The Emergency Relief Fund for El Paso and Teller Counties provides grants to nonprofit organizations serving those affected by a natural disaster or crisis. The Funds accept contributions on a continual basis. A committee of local stakeholders will review requests for funding that are submitted from nonprofit organizations and will award funds based on need and available funding. Donate Here!
- The Salvation Army of Colorado Springs (a shelter and food provider to the homeless) and Tessa (a shelter and provider for victims of domestic violence) could also use monetary donations.
Consider starting a local drive: change happens when local communities and individuals are mobilized for a greater cause. Reach out to your family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, local businesses (including art studios, museums, and tattoo shops) and others to try and collect the items listed below, for nearby hospitals and shelters. The AARP has a great explanation and check-list that breaks down the steps of organizing a successful drive, along with one from WikiHow and Elements of Living.
- Dried goods, cans, and other non-perishable food items for food pantries and distribution centers
- Face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectants/alcohol, medical-grade gloves, and other essentials for medical workers and shelters
Donate blood: the Surgeon General has urged healthy individuals to donate their blood during the pandemic, due to thousands of blood drive cancellations across the country. You can find a local donation center on the Red Cross webpage. Spread the message to let others know to donate blood as well!
Shop local: small businesses (including restaurants/bakeries, hardware/fabric/other supply stores, clothing shops, etc) need your support right now to stay afloat during this time. Instead of shopping online or supporting big business, try investing your money locally as much as you can.
Write a letter, or send a care package: many folks right now are feeling more isolated than ever due to the spread of the pandemic and the enforcements in place. Write a letter, or send a care package, to spread messages of hope during this time of uncertainty and fear.
- Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services has an online “toolkit” you can download on their website that lists off all the ways you can support migrants during COVID-19. Many individuals are stuck in migrant detention centers right now, and LIRS is recommending folks reach out because it is an even scarier time for them right now.
- Contact your local organizations that work with elderly populations to see if you can spread senior care packages around your neighborhood! From the Area Agency on Aging in Colorado Springs: “Those seeking to help our seniors: Teller Senior Coalition - Teller County says "one thing that our seniors enjoyed when we did Winter Care packages in the Fall, we included adult coloring books, colored pencils, word puzzles, things like that which they enjoyed." We'd also add cards and stamps for seniors to write notes to people. The Area Agency on Aging has connections with all the senior apartments and we can coordinate delivery for packages for fun. Let us know firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any (in Park, Teller and El Paso Counties) and we can get you in touch. Thanks for your support and love.”
Offer an online class or performance: if you have a set of skills you would be interested in sharing with the world, now is your time to shine! Especially for folks who love to cook, make art and music, and practice movement of any kind, offering an online class would be a great option for you.
- Some organizations, like Colorado Springs' Concrete Couch non-profit, are offering online classes for folks to stay involved with the community and learn new skills in the process. They are having community members, like you all, offer your time and talents to make these weekly classes happen. They have regular classes every weekday from 3-4pm MST-- if you are interested, email them to set up a time!
- If you want to share with your CC community, reach out to Amy Hill (Campus Activities, email@example.com) and set up a time on the programming calendar.
- Social media platforms are also a great way to share your skills with friends and family.
Become an online tutor, or babysitter: since K-12 schools across the nation are shut down at the moment, many parents or caretakers are having a hard time keeping their kids occupied, let alone trying to continue their education remotely. If you have the time and interest, perhaps try advertising your services for online babysitting or tutoring pro-bono to parents in your community. There are also a network of homeschooling and at-home tutoring groups that are popping up, which you could post to!
- News article: In Jefferson County, CO, a group of high-schoolers started a website that would match students with families in the area for remote babysitting. Here is the link to their actual website.
- Rather than creating a website, or using the one above, you could also try using the website and phone app Nextdoor (which does require a log-in). The Nextdoor app has added a “Help Map” feature, an interactive map of your neighborhood where you can mark yourself as someone who can pitch in for neighbors who need it. Those who need assistance can find neighbors on the map who can help them with tasks such as grocery and prescription pick up, or in this case, for online babysitting services!
- Helpful resources for online tutoring & babysitting:
- WikiHow article that outlines the process of online tutoring (good introduction to this work!)
- Sonia Teach, a YouTube channel that has a lot of details about how to start online tutoring (including what software to use)
- Short video that demonstrates kinds of activities you can do while babysitting virtually (paint something, show pictures or other interesting items, play music, ask the kids to show you items in their room as a kind of “show and tell,” etc)
Join a mutual aid group online! From AARP’s website: “Across the country, people are informally organizing new online mutual aid groups to stay connected, share ideas, and help those most affected by the Coronavirus. Whether you want to start a group, find a group, or get assistance yourself, our directory can help you connect with people in your community. Learn more here.”
Make a face mask: (Updated on 7/23) The state of Colorado requires that all individuals wear cloth face masks when outside of the home (including crowded places like grocery stores or nature trails that are still open) as this measure reduces the spread of the virus through community-based transmission.
- Joann’s Fabric has a comprehensive webpage for mask-making endeavors.
- The CDC has a list of patterns for the making of these masks, which include two non-sewing options for those without a machine. For one of them, all you would need is a T-shirt!
- This is a great pattern for if you do have a sewing machine.
- Make one for yourself, your family members, and your neighbors, or consider donating them to local grocery store workers, and any other essential but non-medical workers who might not have the time to make one.
Make a PPE hospital gown: (Updated on 4/9) Nursing homes and other medical centers near you may be in need of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in the form of gowns. Online YouTube tutorial