Now, more than ever, it’s important that we come together as a community (metaphorically speaking, of course) and help each other out. There are so many worthy causes to contribute to and immeasurable ways to get involved, so it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve gathered up a few resources to inspire you and hopefully provide some sense of direction.
Check out our top five suggestions for how and where you can help out in the Greater Boston area during the COVID-19 pandemic:1. Donate Blood - With the lack of large public blood drives happening in the last month or so, hospitals are nervous about future blood availability. However, many are still offering sanitary, individual blood donation options. Before donating blood, it’s important that you ensure you’re healthy and meet all the requirements. Some places you can go to are:
- American Red Cross - You can sign up for an appointment here.
- Kraft Family Blood Donation Center at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital - Donate here.
- Holyoke Medical Center - Call 413-534-2591 to make an appointment.
- Baystate Health Center - Click here to see when and where they are collecting blood.
- Massachusetts General Hospital - You can find more info here.
2. Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Many hospitals are still in need of PPE to keep their staff as safe as possible. PPE consists of N95 masks, surgical masks, procedure masks, hand sanitizing wipes/disinfectant, scrubs, coveralls, booties, gowns, etc. While every hospital differs in the exact materials they are in need of, almost all hospitals are accepting donations of these materials as unopened containers. Whether you’re a business owner with access to these supplies or an individual with extra in your home, here are some of the major hospitals you can donate to:
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Tufts Medical Center - Email savePPE@tuftsmedicalcenter.org
- Boston Medical Center
- National Wellesley Hospital
- Cooley Dickinson Hospital
- Martha's Vineyard Hospital
- Nantucket Cottage Hospital
- North Shore Medical Center
- Wentworth Douglass Hospital
- Emerson Hospital
Another resource is MassGov’s donation program. If you aren’t physically near these hospitals or located in MA, but want to donate, you can visit GetUsPPE and they will match you with a hospital or essential business near you in need of the materials you have.
Also, consider donating to police or fire departments in your area that are in need of PPE. Some departments in the Greater Boston area include:
- Holyoke Police Department - They will come to your house to pick up materials or can be dropped off. To get in touch, call 413-536-6431.
- East Hampton Police Department - Call 413-527-4200 ext. 2140.
- Hadley Police Department - This department has a 9-5 donation box outside their offices.
3. Sew Face Masks to Donate - If you know how to sew, this is an amazing way to use your talents to get involved. There are many small groups working to gather masks and sewers like Masks for MA, which has had fabric donated by JoAnn’s and donates the homemade masks to hospitals throughout the state. Even if you don’t have a group in your area like this, here are some ways you can help:
How to make a mask:
- A video on how you make masks.
- A step by step post with printable patterns for wire masks.
- A tutorial for masks without wire.
Where to donate:
- Melrose Wakefield Health Center - This center has two patterns they suggest you use for masks and has donation locations to drop them off.
- Cambridge Health Alliance - This health system has guidelines for their masks and donation locations in Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville.
- Cooley Dickinson Health Care - See their online guidelines for masks.
- Boston Medical Center - Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about donating homemade masks.
- Nantucket Cottage Hospital - This hospital is accepting masks for people who are able to drop them off at the hospital.
4. Volunteer to Deliver for Food Banks - While many food banks have stopped accepting food donations, many are in need of volunteers. For many, this means volunteering to pick up and deliver pre-packaged food to people’s homes. This is a great way to help out while maintaining social distance through contactless delivery. Here are some places seeking volunteers:
- The Greater Boston Food Bank
- Food For Free
- Meals on Wheels - Note: They have very low time commitment opportunities.
- Human Network Initiative
- Good Neighbors Program
For food service professionals who are looking to donate meals:
- North Shore Medical Center - Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tufts Medical Center - Contact email@example.com.
- Boston Medical Center - Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Virtual Volunteering Opportunities - Many organizations are still in need of volunteers in times like these, including.
- United Nations - They are accepting online volunteers for many kinds of projects. You can sift through the site to see what projects interest you, how long each will take, and what is expected of you from start to finish. These range from editing to translating documents to leadership opportunities.
- The Red Cross - Now, more than ever, the Red Cross is seeking online advocates who can help them spread information. See all the online opportunities they offer here.
- Smithsonian - Be a part of history and transcribe documents for the Smithsonian. This is a fun opportunity to get involved by looking through field notes, diaries, logbooks, and more historical documents.