Like many, we’ve spent the last week wondering how to respond to COVID-19. We do know that we’re grateful to be part of a strong Richmond community. We rely on the goodwill of others to keep us going—and are lucky to have a foundation to rely on when the going gets tough.
So, after putting our heads together, we compiled a list of volunteer opportunities to support a community that we know has our back. While we initially developed this list to share with our team, we decided to share it with the public.
We feel it calls attention to important causes that drive our community in the right direction. We will make it through this together. But in the meantime, we think it’s important to lift up others.
Here are just a few ways to do so.
Donate Time or Money with Feed More
Feed More is a nonprofit that helps feed neighbors in need across 34 counties and cities in Central Virginia. At the time of writing, the nonprofit said they will continue to collect, prepare, and distribute food to their network. This includes ramping up production in the Bayard Community Kitchen and their Food Bank Distribution Center.
“Feed More is well prepared and we will continue to be a part of the solution and distribute food to our neighbors who face hunger,” said Doug Pick, President & CEO of Feed More. For more information on their efforts, check out Pick’s full statement.
To learn more about volunteering, check out the Feed More application form.
Support the Richmond Restaurant scene
On March 17, 2020, a group of Richmond restaurant owners and operators met to discuss the challenges facing the restaurant industry during COVID-19. As a result, Richmond Restaurants United was formed to alleviate financial stress and advocate for support. The group is partnering with The Holli Fund to coordinate the Richmond Restaurant Workers Support Fund and is asking for donation of services from the local community.
For more information, check out the Richmond Restaurants United website.
Additionally, our friends at Familiar Creatures put together Keep Calm and Nom Nom to make it easy for people to support their favorite local restaurants by purchasing custom t-shirts, gift cards, or ordering takeout and delivery.
The American Red Cross has an “ongoing critical need for blood product donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic.” As an essential community service, donating blood is still a viable volunteer option. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future.”
For more information, and to search for available appointments in your area, visit the American Red Cross website.
Distribute Food through Richmond Public Schools
Despite statewide closures, many Richmond City schools have remained open as food distribution sites for students and families in need. As with any interaction, use an abundance of caution—and sign up only if you feel you are unlikely to have been exposed to COVID-19.
To learn more and sign up to volunteer, visit the Richmond Public School website.
Donate Money to Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation
Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners with the Richmond City Public Schools to improve student learning and achievement. While the nonprofit accepts donations throughout the year, individuals can currently indicate that their donation be designated to support Richmond Public Schools’ coronavirus efforts.
Support Your Favorite Local and Small Businesses
We’re lucky to have a strong foundation of small businesses in Richmond—many of which are temporarily closed due to current circumstances. Buying a gift card to your go-to salon, yoga studio, nail salon, community theater, or coffee shop (and more!) will help these businesses weather the storm if they've had to close temporarily.
Visit the websites or social media profiles of your favorite businesses to learn how you can help.
Grocery Shop for Your Parents, Grandparents, or Neighbors
Many people don't want to grocery shop during this time—or have limited availability or ability to do so. Offer to run errands for your parents, grandparents, older relatives, if you are feeling well. As with any interactions during this time, individuals should do their part by keeping employees and patrons safe during this time. This includes maintaining a safe distance from others at checkout and throughout the store, practicing proper hygiene, and staying home when ill.
Encourage a Healthcare Professional
Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals are on the front line right now—in Virginia and across the world. If you a healthcare professional working with COVID-19 cases, express your gratitude and encouragement through a card, text, email, or other note. Sometimes, a little bit goes a long way.
Share your Story as a Virtual JA Volunteer
As schools have closed for the remainder of the year, Junior Achievement is providing free online resources to teachers and parents. According to the nonprofit, "Until April 30th, if you record and share a video with us, we will be able to share with students through our online and blended-learning programs!"
Donate Money to Those Facing Food Insecurity
Beautiful RVA is building raised beds at zero costs for “those concerned about food security issues during this time and live in the Richmond Region (area code 804).” If you would like to invest in this work financially, visit their website and make a donation. According to the nonprofit, raised beds on average cost about $75-$100 each, including soil, wood and hand tools.