How to help as coronavirus caution affects our neighbors

COVID-19’s impact in Wake County is bigger than a public health concern.

For vulnerable populations including those experiencing food insecurity, local businesses and people who work in the service industry or the arts, social distancing has an unintended but unfortunate effect.

But there are ways you can safely help, which will be updated here. Most recent update: Saturday, April 4, 1:15 p.m.

Send additional COVID-19-related needs and ways to help to raleighconvergence@gmail.com to be added to this list.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is in “desperate need” of canned fruits and vegetables for its emergency food boxes as it projects continuing to serve 1,500 food boxes and Backpack Buddies per week over its coverage area.

There are two Raleigh-area no-contact, curbside drop off locations and one in Durham.

You can see their list of most-needed items or donate on their website.

Participate in #MobilizeMondays starting April 6 to make a special effort to drop off on Mondays.

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

The top need for the food bank as they respond to COVID-19 concerns is funds.

The food bank works with partner agencies to address food insecurity needs for kids who will be out of school, seniors who are considered more at risk and people who have lost income.

After funds, the next most needed items are dry goods and shelf-stable items [find a list here]

[Donate here] or consider holding a virtual food drive.

United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Rapid Response Fund

“United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Rapid Response Fund is now accepting donations to support Wake, Durham, Orange, and Johnston County residents needing access to critical resources including food, hygiene, childcare, and housing assistance during times of area-wide crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The United Way will work with area nonprofits in providing these resources. [donate]

Donate blood

A “severe shortage” of blood supply because of social distancing and canceled blood drives means the Red Cross is looking for healthy people to donate. You can make an appointment to safely donate if you’re healthy by searching your ZIP code on the Red Cross site or making an appointment with Blood Connection. [FAQ from Red Cross]

Morgan Street Food Hall is also running a blood drive with Blood Connection in Downtown Raleigh today-March 29. Donors will receive a $20 Visa gift card. [search “Morgan Street Food Hall” to see schedule]

NEW TO RALEIGH: [Sign up] for The New Neighbor Project, free guides from Raleigh Convergence

Donate medical supplies to local hospitals

Local hospitals need personal protective equipment, and you can help.

WakeMed: “WakeMed will accept donated supplies to be allocated to the areas of greatest need as it relates to our COVID-19 response efforts. Needed items vary by facility. Currently, the biggest need is additional personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks. Anyone with unopened PPE and supplies are urged to email WakeMed at info@wakemed.org with details regarding available items. 

Please note that only new, unopened packages of supplies will be accepted. WakeMed is not accepting handmade items.” [read more]

UNC Health hospitals: The most urgent supplies are N95 masks, surgical masks, surgical masks with shields and nasal swabs for medical use.

UNC was previously accepting masks sewn at home and included a few patterns to send to other hospitals in need. Drop off locations and more ways to help: [read more]

Help make masks (or mask-making efforts): Local shop Edge of Urge and Craft Habit have partnered up to raise funds and volunteers for making masks. Want to help but sewing’s not your thing? [donate]

Part of a brewery run club? Support craft breweries and flatten the curve

The Flatten the Curve Virtual Race Supporting NC Brewery Staff is going on between now and April 30, with a registration deadline of April 20.

The premise: “Races all over the country have been canceled for the foreseeable future. Not only that, local North Carolina craft breweries have had to shutter their doors due to the risks created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means countless runners who have trained for a spring race are now looking to fill that void and countless runners who like beer are forced to drink at home. The Flatten the Curve Virtual Race is designed to fill that void!”

Register to run a 5K or a 19K — which you’ll complete safely, on your own time, using proper physical distancing — and the proceeds of your $20 registration will benefit N.C. craft breweries.

Beneficiaries including Raleigh area favorites such as Bond Brothers, Trophy, Big Boss, Oak City Brewing and more. You’ll get swag, too, which you can pick up at your participating brewery of choice. [Register]

NC Artist Relief Fund

Arts organizations Artspace, PineCone, United Arts Council, and VAE Raleigh are joining forces to help artists affected by loss of income.

“This fund has been created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 100% of donated funds will go directly to artists and arts presenters in North Carolina.

Musicians, visual artists, actors, DJ’s, dancers, teaching artists, filmmakers, comedians, and other creative individuals and arts presenters are experiencing widespread cancellations due to this global pandemic. Many North Carolina artists rely on markets, performances, classes, and exhibitions in order to pay the bills directly aligned with their costs of living.” [Donate here]

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Local restaurants and food & beverage service workers

For small businesses, local restaurants and people employed in food and beverage industries, social distancing means a loss of income. There are a few ways you can help our neighbors, though.

  • Restaurants that are still open have online ordering or call-ahead options for your to-go orders, but tip generously if you can!
  • Purchase a gift card for a later date or purchase a gift card online!
  • Make annual purchases earlier: As the Downtown Raleigh Alliance recommended, “if you typically order wholesale products with local retailers later in the year, place your orders now.”

Support local restaurants and feed healthcare workers

The North Carolina Healthcare Foundation partnered with local purveyors including Ashley Christensen’s restaurants, Trophy and Capital Club 16 to provide meals for healthcare workers while supporting local business.

How you can help, via their website:

“There are two ways in which you can help:

  1. Purchase nutritious meals through our established partnerships with local restaurants in your community to be provided to healthcare professionals.
  2. Write a note of appreciation that will be included with your purchase to show moral support and encouragement to healthcare professionals at the front line of this pandemic here.

100% of your donation will go to support local restaurants and feed a healthcare hero.” [donate]

Donate to the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.

The Frankie Lemmon Foundation was originally running the fund for the Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, but a statewide fund has been established and moved over here, run by the NC Restaurant & Lodging Association.

From their site: “There are now thousands of North Carolinians from the restaurant and hospitality industry without jobs or a source of income. They need money for the basic necessities. They’ve always served us. Now it’s our chance to serve them back.” [donate]

Need help? Apply for funds here.

READ MORE: Looking for coronavirus coverage? [Click here for a non-sensationalistic and regularly updated guide.]

Volunteer as you can, consider remote opportunities

From Activate Good: “Volunteer support for Triangle area causes is dropping rapidly in response to the community’s concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.

Our community’s most vulnerable populations will be greatly impacted by this dramatic decrease in support. In response, Activate Good is highlighting many of the ways you can help the community remotely from your home or workspace.” [read more]

Find in-person and remote opportunities here, or remote specific opportunities.

The LGBT Center of Raleigh

The center is anticipating a $150K budget shortfall as a result of postponed events. They’re asking for the community’s help to support LGBTQ+ neighbors. Make a one-time or recurring gift here.

How to support the local music scene:

A Raleigh Music Venue Employee Fund has been set up for the 48 “behind the scenes” staff at The Pour House, Kings, Lincoln, Slims and The Wicked Witch. Venmo @Raleigh-Downtown-Music-Venues.

More ways to help, from the Pour House Music Hall and Record Shop: Purchase their records and merch online, buy directly from artists or on Bandcamp (which is currently giving musicians 100% of music sales). [read more]

Other needs:

St. John’s Day Shelter: Donations and volunteers.

Community Helpers Service Center in Knightdale needs non-perishable foods or donations.

Oak City Outreach Center: Food and other supplies on this list are most crucial. Curbside dropoff available. oakcitycares.org

NC State Feed the Pack: Items currently needed:

  • Canned beans, soup, diced tomatoes, meat
  • Whole-grain pasta and rice
  • Pasta sauce
  • Nutritional shakes and drinks
  • Cold/flu medication, Airborne, hand sanitizer, soap, toilet paper
  • Breakfast items (cereal, breakfast bars, oatmeal)
  • Snack foods (granola bars, crackers, nuts/almonds, pretzels, etc.)
  • Hygiene products
  • Condiments + spices
  • Canned fruit

Learn more: feedthepack.dasa.ncsu.edu.

Families2gether: Need supplies included canned meats, rice, pasta sauce, instant mashed potatoes, pancake mix, syrup, canned fruits, cleaning supplies, wipes, female hygienic products, mac and cheese, bread and pop-tarts. Email volunteer@familiestogether.org to help.

Arrow barber shop employees: This shirt’s proceeds will go to Arrow stylists and employees. Arrow is covering this month’s health insurance premium for its employees, too.

The Raleigh Tee: Benefits the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund and the Raleigh Music Venue Employee Fund. [learn more]

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