10 Ways to Volunteer in the Quarantine

No matter your skills, there's at least one thing on this list for you.

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Perhaps one of the most useful things you can do with all of your newfound free time in this quarantine is to donate it. There are people right here in the Lowcountry, and even in your own neighborhood who need help in this crisis, and there are endless easy, fast, and even fun ways to support our community. Whether you’re willing to spend 5 minutes (see #1 and #5) or a whole afternoon, here are 10 places where your efforts can make a difference for someone. 

 

Take the AMHS $10 Pledge

The AMHS $10 Pledge is a student-created project to help raise funds for local organizations that are in need more than ever right now during the pandemic. While you may cringe at the idea of parting ways with some of your spending change, think of how much money you’ve saved being at home. All the gas you don’t buy, the Chickfila breakfasts you don’t eat, oh, and the prom ticket you didn’t have to buy. Personally, I know I have $10 (or more) to spare. Here’s how it works:

  1. Donate $10 to an organization of your choosing.
  2. Fill out this Google Form indicating your chosen organization and grade.
  3. Then the grade with the most students participated will get a prize TBD on the rest of the year. (Yes, even the senior class will be awarded something. if you have any ideas of what you would want, please contact Ms. Spencer.)

Don’t know where to donate? Check out this list of COVID-19 Relief Funds that serve those in the Lowcountry.

 

Raid Your Pantry for A Food Bank

Expired goods are accepted by food banks, who use different rules for the shelf lives of goods”

One of the easiest things you can do right now is to take an hour out of your day to find items you don’t use in your pantry and take them to local food banks, who are collecting goods, drive-thru style. Another note: expired goods ARE accepted by food banks, who use different rules for the shelf lives of goods. Below are some options in the Lowcountry as well as their hours, though you may want to call ahead to ensure hours have not changed. If you are able to assist with delivering meals, call any of these organizations, who will give you further instructions. 

  • Radiant Church (North Charleston, 2427 Midland Park Road)
    • Monday and Wednesday 1:00pm – 3:00pm
    • Tuesday and Thursday10:30am – 1:00pm
  • Tricounty Family Ministries (North Charleston, 2105 Cosgrove Ave.)
    • 12pm – 2pm Tuesdays
    • They also accept disinfectant and feminine hygiene products.
  • Catholic Charities – Coastal Office (West Ashley, 1662 Ingram Rd)
    • Monday – Thursday 10:00am to 1:00pm
  • Seacoast Church (West Ashley, 2049 Savannah Highway)
    • Thursdays, 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • Seacoast Church (Summerville, 301 E Fifth North St)
    • 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month, 9 – 11am
  • James Island Outreach (JI, 1872-C Camp Rd)
    • 9:00 am – noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays
    • You can also volunteer for them by filling out the form at this link.
  • Lowcountry Food Bank (North Charleston, 2864 Azalea Dr)
    • The Lowcountry Food Bank invites you to start a virtual drive in your community. Get started here.
    • This food bank is also seeking volunteers with LOW RISK for the coronavirus. From their website:
      • “If you are part of the low risk population, we need your help now more than ever. If you or anyone you know is at low risk for COVID-19 and would like to volunteer, please click here to sign up for volunteer shifts.”

Provide Support for Isolated Elders

The website Mon Ami offers a phone line that seniors can call for round the clock social support. You can sign up to be a responder here. Other ways to help seniors include checking on elderly neighbors (from afar) and offering to do their groceries, or walk their pets. 

Further, elders in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can benefit from care packages essential items and equally importantly, items for entertainment, as most homes no longer allow gatherings and have limited visitation. Items such as games, puzzles, and even tablets (if you have one you no longer use one) can help pass time and keep the brain engaged. Don’t forget to include a handwritten card to fight loneliness. 

Two options in the Charleston Area are Heartland of West Ashley (1137 Sam Rittenberg Blvd) and Savannah Grace Assisted Living (1010 Lake Hunter Cir). 

 

Donate Vital Supplies (that you may already have at home)

Many people don’t realize that they have medical supplies in their homes that are desperately needed by the healthcare system. 

MUSC states many products are in high demand and they appreciate donations of the following: 

  • N95 masks
  • Surgical masks
  • Protective eyewear
  • Face guards and face shields
  • Sterile gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Industrial cleaning wipes
  • Thermometers (all kinds)
  • Plastic spray bottles, 12 oz or greater
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Azithromycin
  • Ethanol
  • 200 proof USP-grade alcohol

Donations to MUSC may be dropped off at 4295 Arco Lane Charleston, SC 29418, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nationally, Mask Crusaders is an organization working to redistribute medical supplies to the areas that need it most in this crisis. If you have anything to donate from masks, face shields, gloves, disinfectants, thermometers, etc. you can fill out their online form and they will let you know how you can help. 

Some notes on: Masks

The N-95 isn’t the only mask of use right now. P100, P95, R95, and surgical masks are all being accepted at hospitals around the country. Mask crusaders can connect you with somewhere in need of your mask. 

Some notes on: Gloves

Anatomy students listen up: many facilities in high demand are accepting materials even if they have been opened (i.e. that box of gloves you were using for dissections). Mask crusaders (link above) accepts these as donations. 

 

Shop on AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is just Amazon, except .5% of every purchase goes to a charitable organization of your choice. Same products, same prices, Amazon just gives back a little of your purchase, free of charge to you. Really, that’s it. Next time you need to place an order on Amazon, use AmazonSmile instead. Once you log in, you can search for an organization of your choice that participates (James Island Outreach, for example, is a member) or just select one from their list. 

 

Donate Blood

You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

— U.S. Surgeon General

The Red Cross encourages making a donation appointment weeks in advance in order for them to maintain a constant supply during the pandemic.

Further, if you know anyone who has survived the coronavirus, the Red Cross is seeking plasma donations to help current coronavirus patients survive. Those who have survived have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus, and therefore increase survival chances for those with extreme complications. More info here

There are Red Cross facilities in Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley. The South Carolina Blood Connection also has a donation center at 5780 Core Road in North Charleston. Search for Red Cross donation centers and pop up blood drives near you at this link

 

Make DIY Masks

Do you know how to sew? Or are you willing to learn how to sew? There are countless tutorials online and patterns that can teach you how to make vital protective masks for your family and hospital workers. While MUSC says on its website that they are not currently using homemade masks, they ARE accepting them as donations in case of future need for them. If you want your mask to be put to use immediately, however, there are 5 organizations in South Carolina in need which can be found all in one place at this link. They range from nursing and rehab facilities to vulnerable populations. 

 

Give Gifts to the Healthcare Workers in Your Life

As the medical world bears the impact of a global crisis, the day to day lives of our local doctors, nurses, and hospital staff has become increasingly stressful and perilous. Buying a gift or creating a care package for an essential healthcare worker you know is an easy way to support them in this time. Some ideas include: 

  • Caffeine (Coffee gift cards (bonus points if its for a local joint), Keurig pods, etc.)
  • Childcare (If you can babysit and are close to the family, offer to watch their children for them while they work or rest)
  • A card or sign showing your appreciation 
  • Inform them of discounts going on right now for medical workers
  • A supportive text
  • Essential items (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, etc.)

 

Know A Population In Need? Design A Project, Apply for a Grant, Get Going.

Several service organizations are currently using their emergency response funds to award grants to people who have identified–and are willing to fulfill–a need in their community. The Campaign for Southern Equality, for example, provides cash grants of up to $500 for those who will organize a project that meet the needs of LGBTQ Southerners in response to COVID-19. Southern Vision Alliance will also award grant funds of $500 each for relief projects. Priority is given to efforts led by workers, LGBTQ people, youth and students, people of color, rural communities, disabled people, migrants, and families. Several other minority relief organizations have similar grants. 

 

3D Print Parts for Masks

Yes, this task required a pretty specialized skill, however, if you or someone you know may on the off chance have access to a 3D printer, they can use it for the creation of mask pieces. More information can be found here

 

If you are planning to complete any of these projects, please send me pictures, and I will include them in my next article showing AMHS students taking action. Email: culcla1391@ccsdschools.com. Phone: (843)822-6828. Remember to think of your own safety before trying any of these, and practice proper precautions suggested by the CDC.