In circumstances where we feel highly anxious or traumatized, channeling anxieties into useful action and helping others can be key to restoring our sense of agency and connectedness, while reducing helplessness.
We're all scrambling to adjust to the changes, and not everyone has the time and energy to volunteer right now. But if and when you can, here are some ideas!
* If you know of additional opportunities, you can mention them in the comments section *
** Donate blood to the Red Cross (who reports experiencing severe blood shortages due to cancelled office blood drives): www.redcross.org/give-blood.html
** Make financial contributions... for example:
-In the SF Bay Area the new "Give2SF Fund" is raising money to provide shelter, food, and assistance in response to coronavirus to San Francisco charities who most need it right now: www.give2sf.org
-The Marin Community Foundation has set up a #COVID-19 relief fund to soften the social and economic impacts of the pandemic: Emergency rental assistance for low-income residents/ Expanded food for economically disadvantaged families/ Expanded meals for seniors/ Wi-Fi mobile access for economically disadvantaged students/ Emergency childcare for health care workers and emergency responders
-Feed The Frontlines Marin is raising money to deliver hot meals to our beloved medical workers on the frontlines, who are reportedly struggling to find time to get to the cafeteria: https://donorbox.org/feed-the-frontlines-marin
** Jewish Family and Children's Services has volunteer opportunities. Apply online here or call 415-449-3807 (serves families in San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties).
-Calling high-risk seniors daily to monitor their safety and security (Safe at Home program)
-Delivering food to serve housebound individuals
**NextDoor.com's Help Maps
NextDoor is like Craigslist by neighborhood, if you're not familiar with it. They have created a feature called Help Maps: "Daily activities may be risky for more vulnerable neighbors. Let neighbors know if you can help with essential needs like picking up groceries."
**Sew DIY face masks for medical personnel and deliver them to hospitals to help them as they wait for critical PPE supplies to arrive. (Note: there doesnt seem to be consensus on the safety of DIY masks, so it's a good idea to reach out to local physicians or hospitals to ask if they want these. Many groups on places like Twitter and Next Door are organizing local efforts and sharing patterns and tips).
**If you have a housekeeper, gardener, babysitter, or other service provider, continue to pay them while you're socially distancing. You can always get creative and brainstorm an arrangement with them so they can maintain their livelihood, and make it up somehow later if you need the money.
** Deliver supplies to high-risk and quarantined folks in your family or community
** Offer emotional support to those feeling lonely and/or in distress
Additional Opportunities for Licensed Psychotherapists
**THE COVID-19 PRO BONO COUNSELING PROJECT Pro Bono Counseling for Front-line Healthcare Workers Facing COVID-19 in concert with UCSF. To volunteer, click here.
**THE COVID-19 WARM-LINE INITIATIVE
Warm-line offers support daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the COVID-19 crisis. To volunteer, click here
Maysie Tift is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Master Hypnotist with offices in San Rafael, CA and San Francisco, CA.