Making a Difference
So many of our neighbors have sought ways to help others as we work together to reach the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a light for others is certainly a meaningful way to get through these difficult times. Understanding the challenges facing the many with lost jobs or weakened businesses, I include below some ways you can help that do not require contributing money, and some, for those fortunate to have the ability, that do.
You have seen the lines of cars waiting for help. With so much demand, more volunteers are needed.
San Antonio Food Bank
Visit their website here. Aside from regular sanitization, volunteers are kept six feet apart. All volunteers receive a temperature check upon arrival, and those with a temperature over 100.4 will be asked to leave. Volunteers are asked to bring their own masks to help extend their supply, though gloves are available for volunteers. Clients stay in the vehicle, with food put inside the vehicle to limit interaction. To learn more about their safety measures visit here.
Central Texas Food Bank
Central Texas Food Bank is seeking volunteers. Visit the website here. Volunteer shifts have been adjusted to include fewer people and maximize social distancing and have even implemented a touch-free volunteer check-in system. Additional precautionary hygiene measures are in place to maintain the health and wellness of volunteer workforce as well as those that receive our food. Learn more about their safety measures here.
Hays County Food Bank
Hays County Food Bank has opportunities for people with cars. In order to determine if you can volunteer, you must first answer a few screening questions. Learn more here.
New Braunfels Food Bank
Senior Access and Drive a Senior Central Texas
Both programs seek volunteers for their Senior Buddy programs, in an effort to get essential goods and services to senior citizens who are at greater risk from the virus. Senior Access can be reached at its website here. Drive a Senior can be reached at its website here.
Aspire to Age
Aspire to Age is in need of volunteers for 20-minute virtual phone check-ins with seniors. Their volunteer form can be found here. You can learn more about Aspire to Age and their services by visiting their website here.
Meals on Wheels San Antonio
Meals on Wheels San Antonio is continuing the help the most vulnerable in our communities through meal delivery. Volunteers receive training and maintain social distancing by place meals in plastic bags at the client's door. For more information about volunteering visit here, and for safety precautions visit here.
Meals on Wheels Central Texas
Helping our homebound neighbors receive home-delivered meals. Donate here.
Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., The Battered Woman and Children’s Shelter
FVPS, The Battered Woman and Children Shelter is committed to meeting the needs of domestic violence victims. During this time they are in need of canned goods and materials to care for young ones including formula, Pedialyte and diapers. For the most up-to-date information about needs visit here.
San Antonio Area Foundation and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
Together the San Antonio Area Foundation and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County have created the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support individuals, families, and the community struggling during this time. Click here for more info.
United Way of Hays and Caldwell Counties
Providing help to residents of Hays and Caldwell Counties affected by COVID-19. Donate to the Disaster Relief Fund here.
Donate Blood: South Texas Blood & Tissue Center
Blood donation is still designated as an essential service, and doing so can net one rewards such as HEB Gift Cards and more, which can also be used to donate to organizations. Staff wear gloves and masks, and people donating are having their temperature checked before donating. Areas are cleaned after every use. A full list of blood donation options is linked here.
We Are Blood
A blood donation group with ongoing donor centers. All donors and staff are required to wear face masks or coverings at any of their centers. Every piece of equipment is wiped down and cleaned after each donor’s use. You can learn more about their safety measures during Shelter-In-Place here.
- The North Lamar Location is located at 4300 N. Lamar Blvd.
- The Round Rock Location is located at 2132 N. Mays, Suite 900.
- The South Austin Location is located at 3100 W. Slaughter Lane.
They can all be reached at (512) 206-1266.
Additionally, they are collecting convalescent plasma donations from fully recovered COVID-19 individuals. This plasma is being used to treat patients currently fighting COVID-19. If you are a fully recovered COVID-19 patient and want to be considered as a convalescent plasma donor, learn more here.
The Big Give Emergency Relief
At the request of Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the Nonprofit Council and the City of San Antonio have provided the Big Give Emergency Relief platform to assist nonprofits in raising critical funds during the wake of this pandemic. Click here for more info.
An organization serving younger Austinites experiencing homelessness, currently asking for grocery store gift card donations.
Text GIFT to 41444
Gift Card mail/drop off address: 3700 1st St, Austin, TX, 78704
The Children’s Shelter in San Antonio
The Children’s Shelter in San Antonio needs protection equipment and cleaning supplies. They seek masks, disposable sterile gowns, Pine Sol, Lysol, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels. They can be dropped off at 2939 West Woodlawn, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more info.
A local nonprofit that provides affordable housing and support services in Austin and North Texas is seeking donations for its Emergency Assistance Fund. The fund will help residents who are experiencing health concerns or lost wages to afford rent, utilities, household items, transportation and more. Donations can be submitted at the link here.
Stand With Austin Fund
The Stand With Austin Fund was established in partnership with the Entrepreneurs Foundation to receive charitable donations to support nonprofits assisting individuals and small businesses most negatively impacted by the cancellation of SXSW and least able to recover on their own. They can be donated to at the link here.
Austin Ed Fund
Taking donations online to provide meal services, telehealth medical appointment fees, remote learning support, and mental health of students, faculty, and staff across Austin ISD.
I Lost My Gig
Donation drive online supporting musicians and music-adjacent individuals temporarily out of work due to the cancellation of SXSW and other music venues. Learn more here.
MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Recording Academy MusiCares fund has long supported music industry professionals through a crisis. Their MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund is providing relief for those affected by this pandemic. Music professionals can learn more and apply for funding here.
Texas Diaper Bank
The diaper bank is in need of unopened donations including: diapers sizes 3, 5, 6; menstrual pads (not liners or tampons); and incontinence products. Click here for more info.
As service members and their family members wear masks while on post Soldiers' Angels is seeking volunteers to sew, donate materials, such as fabric, elastic, thread, or other sewing materials (preferred fabric is 100% cotton, like a quilting fabric or lightweight flannel), or make a monetary donations to support their efforts. Click here for more info.
Blessed Angels Community Center
As an emergency food pantry, the center is facing an increase in families needing assistance. They are currently accepting monetary and volunteer assistance. Click here for more info.
Face Shield Project
This Austin based volunteer organization is building improvised face shields by the thousands in partnership with the City of Austin, UT Dell Medical School and local companies. They provide all the tools, materials, training and a safe, physically distanced and hygienically supervised production space. Learn more about how to volunteer here.
Translators without Borders
If you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language and would like to translate medical texts or translate for crisis response, complete the Translator Application Form here.
They have put a list of kid-simple activities for volunteering at home. See more here.
- Make birthday cards for Pop-Up Birthday for children and teens in foster care - The cards can be simple or embellished. Write a small message inside and when you're finished, mail them to Pop-Up Birthday at 101 Westlake Dr. Ste. 210, Austin, TX 78746.
- Marbridge Foundation offers safe residential care for adults with cognitive disabilities. The residents typically have very active day-to-day lives and frequent visitors, but they have had to shelter in place without visitors recently. Please write up-lifting cards, filled with jokes and pictures, and send them to the residents of Marbridge, c/o Becca McPherson, PO Box 2250, Manchaca, TX 78652.
San Antonio Pets Alive!
San Antonio Pets Alive! seeks people to foster and adopt dogs and cats. On-site adoptions are by appointment only and all foster adoptions are remote only. You can see all the available dogs and cats for adoption here. For more information, visit here and for safety guidelines visit here.
Austin Animal Center and Austin Pets Alive!
Both the AAC and APA! are looking for willing hosts to foster animals in this time of crisis, when organizing care networks in person at the shelter becomes harder to do. Austin Animal Center links for donation and fostering can be found here, and the organization can be reached by email at email@example.com. The link for Austin Pets Alive! is found here.
To help one’s nearby neighbors, an app I have seen recommended is Nextdoor. It has added a feature to help people coordinate offers of help. The Help Map, lets people say where they are and whether they need or can offer help, such as picking up groceries or taking a dog for a walk for an elderly neighbor. Sign up, address verification for Nextdoor’s community security. You can learn more here.