Living through a global pandemic is obviously not how anybody saw their year going, but here we are. And the question going through many people’s minds, the question that arises whenever a major crisis occurs, is this: How can I help?
The simplest ways are those that have been promoted by health officials and leaders around the world. Stay at home as much as you possibly can. Do not gather in large groups. Practice social distancing when going out in public. Sanitize.
These are steps that everyone can take, and they have already paid dividends, helping to flatten the curve and buy us time until a successful antiviral treatment and/or vaccine have been developed and distributed. They are important.
But, if you are able and wish to go further, here are some of the many ways you can take direct action to help us all — in Douglas County, statewide and nationally — get through this:
Personal protective equipment is the first line of defense to keep our medical professionals safe, and therefore our health care system functional. Shortages of PPE, particularly N95 surgical masks, have made sourcing and obtaining this equipment difficult for many hospitals.
If you have any unopened packages of these masks, you can call the Mercy Foundation at 541-677-4818 to donate. And while the N95 mask is the standard for medical professionals, the foundation is also accepting R95 and P95 masks, which are typically used in other industries but filter out particles to the same standard as N95 masks.
The Mercy Foundation is also accepting donations of gloves, surgical masks, shoe guards, surgical gowns, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. If you would like to help financially, donations can be made at https://www.mercygiving.org/, and are used to provide mask-sewing kits to Oregon Serigraphics, which has organized the Umpqua Sewing Warriors.
The Umpqua Sewing Warriors take these kits and produce cloth masks, which are given to the Douglas Public Health Network for distribution to the county’s medical community. If you are interested in joining the Umpqua Sewing Warriors, more information can be found on its Facebook page at https://bit.ly/umpquasewingwarriors.
There are also countless campaigns on GoFundMe and other sites to help purchase PPE for doctors around the world, so feel free to search for yourself.
Food is important, and accessing food can be a struggle for people in a precarious financial situation. There are many food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens in the area, and all could use some extra help:
Roseburg Dream Center, http://roseburgdreamcenter.org
- Dillard-Winston Food Pantry, 541-679-9726.
- Sutherlin Oakland Food Pantry, 541-459-4082.
- Roseburg Salvation Army, https://roseburg.salvationarmy.org.
- St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, 541-863-5489.
- Glide Helping Hands, https://www.glideadventist.org/glide-helping-hands.
- South Douglas Food Bank, 541-863-7563.
- FISH Food Pantry, https://fishofroseburg.org.
- Statewide, the Oregon Food Bank provides support to local organizations across the state and in Clark County, Washington. Money, and food, can be donated at https://www.oregonfoodbank.org.
For those who are out of work due to the pandemic, a little extra cash could make all the difference. And many organizations are trying to provide that cash.
Scholly, a company that usually awards scholarships, is giving $200 to students, or their families, who need it. Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/3b79Pp2, and the application for aid is at https://myscholly.com/relief/.
Some of the hardest-hit workers are those who rely on tips, which can’t be replaced with unemployment payments. The United States Bartenders’ Guild is trying to alleviate some of that loss, awarding grants of between $150 and $500 to bartenders in need. Donations are accepted at https://www.usbgfoundation.org/covid-19-response.
Likewise, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United are giving grants to restaurant workers who need financial assistance. More information, along with links to programs providing similar support, can be found at https://rocunited.org/stop-the-spread/coronavirus-support/.
These are just a few of the ways you can help, even while sheltering in place. But there are many others. To make things simpler, The News-Review will be updating this editorial — which can be found on nrtoday.com under the “coronavirus” menu — with additional charities and companies that are giving relief. If you have suggestions for the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
And, even if you can’t donate, support can be shown in other ways. Save your shopping for one bigger trip, instead of several smaller ones. Give people extra space when you’re out in public. Be extra kind to your cashiers. If you’re going to order delivery, be sure to include a generous tip in your budget.
We are all hurting right now, but the only way to make it better is to come together, with each individual doing as much as they can. Do that, and we’ll make it through stronger than ever.