How to Help Community During COVID Crisis

Support Organizations Doing the Work

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Ward 6 Mutual Aid, organized through Serve Your City DC, distributes critical necessities to families suffering due to the COVID-19 crisis. Courtesy: SYCDC

The COVID-19 pandemic has deprived many people of their ability to earn money, bringing out the disparities in the District. It has also brought out the desire to help in those with the privilege to have the time or finances to do so.

Readers have asked how they can help the many organizations that are working to provide assistance to our neighbors working through the challenges they are confronting at this time.

Organizations are looking for volunteers to help them communicate with clients, package items or make deliveries. These often require volunteers to provide their own masks, gloves, sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Volunteers should be people who are not sick and are not members of any at-risk groups.

Many organizations are looking for masks to distribute to volunteers or to the people they serve. If you are able to sew, one way to help is to make and donate masks to organizations doing the work.

If you are looking for ways to help and are fortunate enough to be able, one way you can support the work is with a financial donation. Many of these organizations have had to cancel major fundraising events in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis, even as demand for their services has increased substantially.

The Hill is a community that works together through difficult times.

Here is a list of some organizations serving Capitol Hill and the District through the COVID-19 crisis:

Ward 6 Mutual Aid Network: Ward 6 not for profit Serve Your City (SYC DC) is operating as the hub for the ward’s branch of the DC Mutual Aid network. These neighbors bring food, masks, student technology, online access and other essential items to people in our community in need.  There are multiple drop-off sites for items throughout the Ward, including at CHAW (545 7th St. SE) and Christ United Methodist Church (900 4th St. SW). Donate funds at www.serveyourcitydc.org

Food on the Table DC: Started by Ward 6 resident Allison McGill, volunteers help residents confined or at-risk due to the COVID-19 crisis, buying and supplying groceries, running errands, or just checking in. www.foodonthetabledc.com

Little LIghts volunteers distribute masks and lunch to residents. Courtesy: Little Lights

Little Lights Urban Ministry: This Capitol Hill ministry is working to provide meals, masks, household necessities as well as to provide tutoring and check-ins to families at Potomac Gardens, Hopkins Apartments and Benning Terrace. Support their efforts here.

Everyone Home DC: Founded on Capitol Hill in the 1960s, this organization provides services and resources to individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in DC. The outbreak has put pressure on available resources, and the organization is distributing socks, undergarments and sanitizer to those unable to do laundry to help them stay safe and comfortable. You can donate to their efforts online.

Greater DC Diaper Bank: Founded by Ward 6 resident Corinne Cannon, the Greater DC Diaper Bank helps low-income families meet the need for diapers and personal hygiene products. DC Diaper Bank works with partner sites to distribute diapers to those who need them. You can donate diapers, personal products, or funds to support their work here.

Volunteers package diapers DC Diaper bank in March 2018. Photo: Courtesy GDCDB

H Street Food Drive: District Designer Chris Cardi started a food drive for kids out-of-school and has expanded it to feed families and service workers, offering contactless food and groceries for pick-up at Maketto (1351 H St. NE). The drive also offers contactless food delivery for anyone in need in the area, especially the elderly, single parents and those with special needs. Financial Donations to the effort can be made via PayPal: PayPal.me/CHRiSCARDi or Venmo: @ChrisCardi

Martha’s Table: This District-based non-profit has been supporting families and children for 40 years. During the COVID crisis, they are offering no-cost bagged groceries at sites throughout the city and essentials like diapers to neighbors seven days a week. They need volunteers to prepare and bag food for their emergency sites across the city and financial support for their work.

Food for All DC: Started in 1984 to get groceries to those unable to go to the places that offered assistance, the non-profit provides emergency food to those in temporary situations of need. Volunteer to drive groceries to seniors, immunocompromised, and other DC neighbors who are homebound. Volunteers should have a car, mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes. Volunteer or donate here.

Food Rescue US is ready to make another DC food run. Photo: Food Rescue US

Food Rescue U.S. Nonprofit Food Rescue US picks up leftover food from businesses and delivers it to food pantries around the city. They’re looking for volunteers with cars to help them pick up the food and make deliveries.

Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB): The CAFB supplies groceries from bulk purchasing to food pantries across the region and needs volunteers to help sort and pack food in their warehouse and assist at their offsite food distributions. You can donate funds to pay staff and buy groceries.

World Central Kitchen: Chef José Andres’ is serving meals for seniors at Nationals Park, and providing packaged meals for pick up and delivery.

DC Medical Reserve CorpsThe Medical Reserve Corps is an organization of medical and non-medical volunteers that assists the DC Department of Health (DOH) in its Coronavirus Response. dchealth.dc.gov/mrc

Is there an organization missing from this list? We’ll add it. Email [email protected]

With gratitude to the organizations above, to Hill resident Emily Reckinger and for previous compilations from the Office of Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D). See additional COVID-19 resources listed by Allen’s Office here.