Covid Relief: Recap and Ways to Help
Over the past week, Texas – and Harris County, in particular – has witnessed a dramatic spike in cases of Covid-19, prompting officials to call on residents to stay home when possible and to wear masks in public.
With the surge in cases, there is also a redoubling of relief efforts. Organizations and individuals across Houston, in line with our city’s spirit of hospitality, are working hard to support those in need, whether by providing face masks, delivering meals or donating money. Here, we’ve recapped some of the relief efforts that have taken place so far and outlined ways you can donate your time and money to help Houston during this difficult time.
Feed the Frontline
This nonprofit was founded in March 2020 by a group of friends and colleagues living in Texas, who wanted to help their communities. The group’s mission is to help Texas-owned restaurants stay afloat during the economic crisis, while also feeding the workers fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic. Feed the Frontline has raised nearly $400,000 and provided about 34,000 meals in Houston. You can help by donating here or by simply spreading the word and encouraging Houstonians to support small, locally-owned restaurants.
Second Servings, a prepared and perishable food rescue organization, created the Dinner’s on Us program at the start of the pandemic. The program provided chef-prepared family meals to Houstonians in need at a twice-weekly pop-up distribution site in downtown. Within two months, Second Servings distributed over 65,000 meals. Although the downtown distribution site closed on May 27, the program is still in progress, providing meals at other distribution sites and charities across the city. You can make a donation to Second Servings here and click here to learn about other opportunities to get involved.
Create Face Mask Covers Houston
This initiative was launched in March by a group of women who were concerned by what they were seeing happen in Europe, where the extent of the coronavirus was felt earlier than the U.S. The group is set up to provide Greater Houston medical staff, healthcare workers and first responders with face mask covers and has also made some face shields and surgeon caps. Volunteers can help with donating materials, dropping off masks to various locations or sewing masks. Thus far, the group has donated more than 18,000 pieces of PPE. Currently, the group is focused on helping shelters and rural hospitals. To get involved, join the Facebook group.
Give InKind Houston
In late March, Bellaire residents Samir Mehta, Jennifer Cross and Kristi Coffey organized a community effort to assist frontline healthcare workers with meals. They set up this page, where people can sign up to have catered meals delivered to a designated hospital, supporting local restaurants while also relieving healthcare workers. The community sent over 6,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers through that page. While the pages organically stopped in May when Covid case numbers were under control, they relaunched last week. “As we start to bunker down in our homes again, please remember our healthcare workers who don't have that choice,” said Samir. “Doing anything for them (sending meals, writing a thank you card, etc.) that brings a quick smile to their faces is the least we can do as a community to thank them for their tireless and selfless efforts during these pandemic times.”
Tanglewood resident Aurora Brunel created a Facebook page called Masks of Hope back in March, seeking to help stave off shortages of PPE in the early stages of the pandemic. Her Facebook group quickly attracted thousands of followers, and the group has made over 21,000 masks since March. The group has donated masks to a range of hospitals, nursing homes, grocery store workers and even the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Recently, Aurora was honored with the Houston Rockets’ Hometown Hero award, presented by Frost Bank. The group is continuing to make masks, and there are many ways to help, from delivering the masks, donating supplies to sewing masks. Join the Facebook group to get involved.
Volunteer Houston, a program of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, is the city’s leading volunteer referral service. They have created a COVID-19 Response initiative to allow people to browse volunteer needs specific to the pandemic response efforts. Needs vary from distributing meals to writing letters to senior citizens to supporting Harris County Public Health with data entry and logistics related to Covid testing. See all Covid-related volunteer opportunities here.
Editor’s note: Know of other ways to help Covid relief efforts? Comment below or email us at [email protected].
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