I think that a lot of us feel helpless right now. It’s hard to understand the scale of the pandemic that we’re in the midst of, and so hard to grapple with the immense uncertainty – we don’t know how long this will last, and how long we’ll remain quarantined in our homes.
It’s hard to feel like there’s much that most of us can do right now, since we’re essentially homebound. But as a Pittsburgh native, the first thing that springs to my mind when any type of disaster strikes is Mr. Rogers’ missive to “look for the helpers” at times like this. And I firmly believe that there are things that each of us can do.
ONE – Stay Home
This is really the most important thing that you can do to help. If it’s at all possible, STAY HOME. Really limit your trips out, and only go out for necessities. I know that we haven’t been hit “hard” yet in Pittsburgh, but that doesn’t mean that we should get complacent and start going out again. I know it’s not possible for everyone to stay home, but if you are able to, you should.
TWO – Make and Donate Masks
First – if you have any N95 masks (sometimes people buy them when they’re doing home repairs), donate them to your local healthcare facilities! Each city has different requirements and instructions – here in Pittsburgh, you can visit PPE Connect PGH here to donate any that you have. And if you don’t have any, you can still help by sewing cloth masks! There are lots of different patterns for the masks online, and again, the way to donate varies by city. Operation Face Mask Pittsburgh here is a great resource – he can volunteer to make or distribute masks, and you can donate money if you’re not crafty.
THREE – Donate Food
Something that I love is that restaurants are allowing you to buy meals to donate to hospitals and other frontline workers. You just pay and indicate where you want the food to go, and the restaurant handles the delivery and logistics. It’s a great way to show support of people risking their lives to keep others healthy, and to also support local restaurants while they’re closed for dine-in business. I’m not sure of every restaurant doing this in Pittsburgh, but I know that Senti is – here (Adopt a Healthcare Worker). Or you can donate to Feeding the Frontline Pgh here and they’ll take care of the ordering and delivery.
FOUR – Check in With Your Friends, Family, and Neighbors
We’ve been incredible lucky, and have had friends and family who have been checking in this whole time and offering to pick up things for us that are almost impossible to order for delivery (ahem, paper towels and toilet paper). Help out by checking in with people in your life who might not be able to do even a once-weekly grocery run. If you can, check in on your friends, your family members, your neighbors, and ask them if there’s anything that you can do to help. Sometimes it really is the little things.