Even though the spread of COVID-19 has slowed in some parts of the country, the crisis is far from over. Some states are seeing a rise in cases, and we’re all facing challenges as we adapt to a new way of life. Whether we are able to stay healthy depends on several factors, including access to public health information, the availability of medical care, and the quality of the food we’re eating. The reality is that many of our neighbors, particularly in underserved communities, are unable to access the resources they need to take care of themselves and their families.
In times of crisis, we know that our neighbors are some of the most reliable folks we can turn to for help. As we continue to face multiple challenges, neighbors are stepping up all across the country to lend a hand—and a familiar face. How will you step up to give your neighbors a boost? We’ve rounded up a few examples of how ioby leaders are organizing for change right now. Get inspired, then, start your own project!
Here are some ways that changemakers like you are making an impact:
Providing Health Essentials
For the residents of Cincinnati’s Lower Price Hill neighborhood, the nearest grocery store is a two-mile round trip away—and that journey can take nearly four hours for those who rely on bus service. That’s a huge burden in regular times, and an even bigger one today especially for neighbors most at risk like our senior neighbors.
So Rebecca H. and the team behind Lower Price Hill COVID-19 Community Response: Collective Good[s] are taking steps to ensure their neighbors, who face the lowest life expectancy in the city of Cincinnati, can stay safe and stay healthy. They’re crowdfunded with ioby to raise funds, and are working with local distribution partners to provide families with cleaning supplies and other items to maintain safe, healthy homes. “The potential impact behind this project’s success extends beyond our neighborhood,” she says, and we agree!
Across the way in Central Brooklyn, neighbors—many of them people of color—live with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and asthma. “That means they have underlying conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19,” says Nancie K, the ioby leader of Seeds in the Middle. When her organization found out that many people who live in these food deserts were lacking access to fresh fruits and vegetables, Nancie knew that meant they weren’t getting the nutrition they needed to stay healthy.
So she decided to do something about it. She’s currently fundraising to provide low-cost and free fresh fruits and vegetables to residents of Central Brooklyn. In doing so, she’s working to decrease the food disparities that account for one reason why COVID-19 disproportionately affects minority racial and ethnic groups.
Supporting Many Neighbors At Once
While doctors and nurses play obviously critical roles in healthcare, there are many many others who work behind the scenes to provide essential support to those in need. Think the custodians who ensure buildings are sanitary, lab technicians who provide critical information, and nursing assistants and orderlies who keep patients safe and ensure quality care. Karen D. of Cleveland wanted to show appreciation to everyone at her local hospital, who she knew were severely burdened, so she teamed up with some nearby restaurants to provide 600 meals for the staff.
In doing so, she supported another part of her community, too: the local restaurant industry. Her project, Meals with Double Benefits, gave her an opportunity to uplift multiple neighbors at once. “[The hospital] has been serving our neighborhood for over a century. Our cherished restaurants contribute to our neighborhood character, strength, and community,” she says. “Let’s all support our community in these times of need.”
Right now, many of us are looking for ways to prioritize our health while staying socially distant, and Alexander S is using yoga to empower people to do just that. He knows about the mental and physical benefits of yoga, so he’s working to encourage people around the world to turn to the practice during these stressful times. Alexander Shelton Presents Community Yoga Online is fundraising to partner with a Black media company to “direct, cast, film, and produce BIPOC-led meditations and yoga videos to share online.” Through his program, he not only hopes to “increase the representation of Black people in digital wellness practices online, but also provide financial relief for local Black yoga facilitators disrupted by COVID-19.”
Helping Others Stay Connected
About a third of adults over the age of 65 live alone or in group quarters (such as a nursing facility). In addition to the physical challenges many seniors are currently facing, isolation is adding an extra layer of difficulty. Whether they’re living alone or in nursing homes, many older Americans have been unable to connect with loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.
In Albuquerque, Dominic A. is hoping to use technology to change that. He’s fundraising to provide tablets with video calling capabilities to help isolated seniors during COVID-19. “As people age, time spent with family becomes all the more valuable,” he says. “I want to do whatever I can to provide relief to seniors who will become isolated from those they love for months on end because of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Have an idea for how you can support and uplift your neighbors in response to COVID-19? We’d love to help you get started! Take a look at our COVID-19 resources page for information on how to start a project or receive matching funds to help you increase your impact. Then, share your idea with us and we’ll help you build a plan that’ll get you the funds you need to bring your idea to life.