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8 ways to help those less fortunate during the coronavirus crisis

From donating blood and money to assisting a women’s shelter – the eight ways you can help during the COVID-19 crisis. 

During the harrowing bushfires crisis, Australians galvanised, donating money and wares through charities like the Red Cross and state-based fire organisations. Cut to 2020’s latest addition to its morbid Fyre Festival line-up – the coronavirus pandemic – and things are less clear cut and even more overwhelming.

How can we look after at-risk Aussies? Is there some way we can donate cash to those who’ll be hardest hit? How can we ensure those in need have enough supplies to last them as we’re increasingly urged to self-isolate?

Because we know you’re feeling as wretchedly helpless as we are, we’ve compiled a list of ways – small and big – that you can make a positive impact during this bleak time.

Donate blood

The COVID-19 crisis is putting a huge amount of pressure on our health system and the need for blood donations to keep our supplies high through the next tumultuous months is crucial. With Lifeblood reporting 14,000 new and existing donors are required to keep supplies where they need to be, it’s never been more important to donate if you’re in the position to do so.

Head here for more information.

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Give to a women’s shelter

Homeless women are among the most vulnerable in our country and their needs are only increasing with the coronavirus outbreak. Nicole Yade, general manager of Sydney refuge Lou’s Place, says that demand has spiked and their resources – like food, toilet paper and sanitary items – are dwindling.

“Cash donations are really useful and if people can’t do that, supermarket gift vouchers in smaller amounts are great to give to our really vulnerable clients,” Nicole tells whimn.com.au.

If you’re able to donate money, food, sanitary products or toilet paper, these items will go a long way in helping those in need. Start by searching for a shelter near you and asking them how you can help.

Check on neighbours and loved ones

Think about those in your life who are (or will be) most affected by the coronavirus crisis. We’re talking elderly neighbours, friends in the hospitality industry, casual workers and those in self-isolation. National Resilience Adviser for Australian Red Cross, John Richardson, says a little kindness will go a long way.

“Check in on others. Look after those most at risk – your neighbour living alone, elderly friends and family, people with a disability, people new to an area, including migrants and people with existing medical conditions,” he tells whimn.com.au.

Urge your employer to donate money

The swell of cash donations during the bushfire crisis was unprecedented – you only need to cast your mind back to Celeste Barber’s $52 million fundraiser to confirm that.

So, is there any way we can donate to fighting coronavirus, or the people who’ll be affected by it? While Richardson tells us the Red Cross does not “need any additional donated goods in relation to COVID-19”, nor are they “running a public appeal for coronavirus”, there is a way you can help: urge your employer to donate money.

“If businesses or associations wish to donate to the global response, we can accept their donations on behalf of the global appeal by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,” Richardson says.

This article originally appeared on whimn.com.au and is published here with permission.

Support small businesses

According to the first national survey of businesses following the government’s stimulus package, 60 per cent of businesses have now been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and that number is only going to increase as our community becomes more self-isolated. Before potential restaurant and bar restrictions come into place, leave your stockpile in the pantry and head out to your local small businesses.

Not willing to venture out? Order food online, get it delivered or pick it up. Otherwise, consider buying a gift voucher you can redeem once this crisis is done and dusted to give businesses a much-needed cash injection.

Avoid hospital unless it’s urgent

Hospital emergency department attendance rates jumped by 3.6 per cent from October to December 2019, so you can only imagine the spike medical staff are seeing now. While everyone’s understandably on high alert over coronavirus symptoms, we need to give medical staff the space to treat patients who are in a more critical position. If you think you have coronavirus, call your local GP or the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

Don’t be a dickhead

I’m pretty sure no global crisis was ever improved by selfish, thoughtless dropkickery. Let’s counteract this disappointing behaviour by bringing out our sparkle when we can. Offer to help an elderly person at the shops, resist the urge to hoard at the expense of others, and commit to thinking about how you might be able to help people in need at this difficult time.

Wash your hands

One of the main things we hear health experts everywhere sing in chorus? Wash. Your. Hands. If not to prevent you catching COVID-19, then to prevent others around you from contracting it. It’s simple, but it’ll make a big impact.

Essential coronavirus reading:

How Australians should sensibly prepare for a COVID-19 pandemic, the most dangerous myths to not buy into, why surgical face masks aren’t the answer, the five-step hand washing method to memorise, the proper way to use hand sanitiser, why hand dryers are a part of the problem and the seven most effective ways to protect yourself, according to a doctor.

This article originally appeared on whimn.com and is republished here with permission.