8 Ways You Can Support Healthcare Workers Right Now
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ongoing, doctors, nurses, and medical workers at the front line of the crisis are facing unprecedented demands as well as a shortage in the supplies they need to keep themselves (and patients) safe. Not to mention, a recent study has shared insight into the high levels of anxiety and depression among healthcare workers treating the virus.
As many of us shelter at home, it's easy to feel helpless — but there are several ways in which you can help those working to keep everyone else safe.
Money could be tight right now, but if you're able to, consider donating to charities and organizations supporting healthcare workers. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has started a COVID-19 Response Fund to help nonprofit organizations support medical staff, and Direct Relief is helping provide essential medical items and personal protective equipment to health workers responding to the coronavirus.
Help them get free shoes and clothing
Allbirds is one of the companies stepping up to directly help medical workers by offering free Wool Runners — the popular style beloved by Blake Lively and Courteney Cox alike. The brand initially donated free shoes to healthcare workers, but after popular demand (the company said it donated $500,000 worth of shoes within four days), Allbirds is offering a "buy-one-give-one" option that helps customers give back by splitting the cost of donating a pair of shoes. And if you'd just like to donate a pair of shoes, Allbirds has added an option for that, too.
Universal Standard is also giving away clothing to medical workers. In a statement the brand said they would give away items from its "Foundation" line to any medical worker who asked. "We’ve heard the calls from nurses and doctors for emotional support in the media and came up with the idea of giving members of the U.S. medical community a free piece of Foundation. Foundation is our collection of supremely soft layering essentials, including tees, bodysuits, and tanks: perfect for wearing under scrubs, or changing into at home after a long shift."
All workers need to do is email their credentials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure they get free food
Share the news: Sweetgreen is helping support frontline workers by offering free salads and bowls to hospital workers and medical personnel. You can submit a hospital for the company's Outpost program, which delivers food in cities with Sweetgreen locations.
Help with transportation
If you're in New York City and no longer using your unlimited MetroCards for the subway, you can donate them to essential workers (include healthcare staff). If you don't know anyone personally who might need one, Brooklyn resident Elizabeth Adams has started a now-viral spreadsheet to aid an exchange program. (Just remember to disinfect your card first.)
Advocate for assistance
If you can't donate equipment or money yourself, you can call your senators and representatives to ask them to make PPE a priority for healthcare workers in their states and districts. You can go here to find contact information for your senators, and here to find your representatives. If you're not sure where to start, the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians has a great script for both phone calls and emails.
The American Red Cross previously announced a dire need for donated blood, and while the organization says it now has been able to meet immediate patient needs, it has encouraged people to continue donating if they can do so safely.
"There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus and the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come," the organization said.
Though the American Red Cross's eligibility stipulations say men who have sex with men are advised to "defer" donations for 12 months under FDA guidelines, senators and activists have been advocating for the organization to revise the policy.
Show your gratitude
Across the U.K. and U.S., people have come together to applaud healthcare workers (literally). If you know any medical workers, whether personally of through friends or family, they'd probably appreciate if you Venmo'd them money for coffee or lunch if you can afford to — but barring that, a simple thank you goes a long way.
Perhaps most importantly, listen to healthcare professionals when they ask you to take the proper precautions. As helpless as it can feel to stay at home, this is one of the rare cases in which staying in and doing nothing is actually productive. If you're not an essential worker who has to venture out and you're fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, staying in can help save lives. Limiting contact with others seems to have been helping slow the spread of the coronavirus on certain areas around the world, which of course helps medical staff be less overwhelmed.
The coronavirus pandemic is unfolding in real time, and guidelines change by the minute. We promise to give you the latest information at time of publishing, but please refer to the CDC and WHO for updates.