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Community Care

Senior Class Project at the Dish 2019
Mar 23 2020

Stay engaged with service during the public health emergency. Contributing to community efforts can empower you and help you empower others. Discover ways to stay informed, strengthen community, contribute to causes you care about, and support essential services while following local and national public health orders and social distancing guidelines. When engaging in service, you should also consider how you can contribute to the efforts already underway in your community as well as how your work aligns with the Principles of Ethical and Effective Service.

NOTE: The most important contribution you can make to your community right now is to abide by public health orders and social distancing guidelines to protect yourself and others around you. Engage with service in ways that are consistent with current guidance, and a good fit for you given your individual circumstances.

What remote service-related activities are you interested in? Fill out this quick questionnaire to let us know.

Stay informed

Strengthen community remotely

Contribute to causes you care about through remote action

  • Discover a virtual volunteering opportunity through VolunteerMatch or Catchafire.

  • Volunteer virtually with the United Nations.

  • Sew hospital face masks as part of Rosie the Seamstress, a national effort to bring sewists and hospital facilities together to provide much needed masks.

  • Plan a virtual class to offer a youth organization to support students who are out of school. Connect with the organization about their needs, best practices, and any legal requirements for serving with youth.

  • Fill out your Census form and support the Census effort by sharing information on social media. Learn more on the Census@Stanford webpage.

  • Work on a campaign remotely.

  • Volunteer virtually with the Smithsonian.

  • Put your translation skills to use with Translators without Borders

  • Volunteer with the Center for Workers' Rights helpline. Email Daniela Urban for more information.

  • Create a plan to further a service pathway or issue.

  • Post about causes you care about on social media. The most effective posts will contain a clear call to action that your friends and family can follow while social distancing.

  • Share your service story on the Cardinal Service Stories blog or nominate a friend to share their story.

  • Create a video, write poetry, record a podcast, or write an article about an issue you care about to share with others.

  • Create marketing or social media content for nonprofits. Reach out to organizations that work on issues you care about to find out if you can help them fill this need.

  • Donate to COVID-19 response funds that give money to the nonprofits that need it most to serve vulnerable populations during this time.

  • Help teachers in the Ravenswood City School District connect with families. The district is looking for Spanish/English bilingual adults to help facilitate conference calls.

  • Use your website-building skills or other specialized skills to help Supporting Resilient Communities, Inc. organize disaster relief efforts worldwide. Indicate your interest.

  • Donate gift cards (Safeway, Smart & Final) to local nonprofits that serve and work with families and are supporting them with financial relief. Some examples of local nonprofits:

  • Sort through old clothes, books, and more to find items to donate (at a later time) and organize your living space at the same time. 

  • Sign online petitions for causes you care about, such as this one urging Congress to expand online food stamp purchasing for the millions of disabled or elderly Americans who are homebound due to COVID-19 risk and cannot go out to shop.

  • Crochet or knit a blanket to donate to a local shelter when the shelter is ready to receive it.

  • Encourage disenfranchised voters to re-register through Reclaim Our Vote. The website requests a referral. Feel free to enter “Peggy Propp”

  • Encourage your Senators to pass The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act (NDEBA) to ensure federal elections can take place safely this fall and beyond even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and other national emergencies.

  • Browse Oparkash’s network and apply for online volunteering positions with grassroots social impact organizations in over 40 countries around the world.

Support essential efforts in your local community

Please note: The following opportunities require you to leave your residence to support essential services. If you are an at-risk individual, live with at-risk individuals, or show symptoms of illness, do not take part in these activities. Everyone, regardless of risk level, must check public health orders and any applicable university directives to ensure compliance before engaging in these opportunities, and should take the utmost precaution to follow social distancing guidelines during the opportunity. As circumstances are rapidly changing, you should check on an organization’s website as to their current service needs and how they may change in the current climate.

  • Donate blood. Blood banks are “essential services” under many shelter in place orders, and are in great need of donations during this time. Find opportunities through the Red Cross and other local organizations.

  • Volunteer at a local food bank or Meals on Wheels. Food banks are “essential services” under many shelter-in-place orders, and are in great need of volunteers during this time. Be sure to register in advance on the organization’s website to help out.

  • Donate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eyewear, gloves, masks, and medical gowns to your local hospital. Look up your closest hospital and additional instructions.

  • Create hygiene kits and drop off at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness to help them stay healthy.

  • Pick up groceries and other necessities for people in need. Complete the Shopping Angels form to volunteer or coordinate a city.

  • Make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The PPE Playbook is an authoritative resource for DIYers who want to help to protect health care workers.

Bay Area-specific local opportunities

  • Join Santa Clara County Helping Hands which matches individuals at high risk for COVID-19 to low-risk local volunteers who can help deliver groceries and prescriptions and have virtual check-ins.

  • Support local medical workers by signing up to offer free childcare while schools remain closed.

  • Volunteer to help distribute diapers to local families with Baby Basics of the Peninsula.

  • Assist local relief efforts by delivering food, offering translation services, and more by volunteering with San Mateo County.

  • Sign up to pack or distribute meals with your local Meals on Wheels chapter, Peninsula Volunteers, or with Second Harvest Silicon Valley Food Bank.

  • If you are not medically at risk or living with someone who is, help with food preparation and/or transport. Contact

  • Volunteer to sew, research, provide legal advice, write, and more with SEWING4GOOD, which is mobilizing volunteers to produce emergency isolation gowns to address California’s critical shortage.

Do you have other community public service suggestions to share? Contact Peggy Propp.


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