Times are challenging right now for both individuals and our community as a whole. In addition to posing public health risks, the Covid-19 outbreak has prompted closures of schools and businesses and is straining resources. The pandemic is hitting some people and organizations harder than others, and now is a great time to give back if you are able to do so. Here are some ways to help in our local Orange County community.
Red Cross/Blood Donation
Like many non-profit organizations, the Red Cross is facing increased demand while being forced to cancel fundraising and donation events. Due to the cancellation of blood drives nationwide, the Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage. They are in dire need of healthy individuals who can donate now to maintain a sufficient supply. Make an appointment here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a donation site nearby.
The financial fallout from the pandemic is triggering a hunger crisis. Food banks are struggling to help the record numbers of Americans who are out of work. Conventional donations to food banks are down, as restaurants and supermarkets have less surplus food. In the Orange County area, Second Harvest Food Bank is offering drive through service every Saturday at the Honda Center to meet the increase in demand. Families Forward is also offering drive through service Monday–Friday at their Irvine location. You can make a monetary donation here to Second Harvest or here to Families Forward. Families Forward also accepts donations of food and dry goods.
Local Restaurants & Employees
Many restaurants have closed or reduced their operations to only takeout or delivery due to the outbreak. If you want to support your local eateries, consider ordering takeout or purchasing a gift card or merchandise. Having some income from gift cards could help a restaurant get back up and running again when the crisis abates. You might also consider supporting servers and other workers who have been laid off by donating to a fund or nonprofit, such as the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
Adopt or Foster a Pet
Local animal shelters and rescue groups are currently reducing services and canceling fundraisers to protect their staff during this pandemic, but they still need to care for the animals in their facilities. One way you can help is by adopting or fostering a pet, which will reduce the strain on shelters at this time. You can search the adoptapet.com website or the Orange County’s animal care page for animals in need near you.
Older people and those with pre-existing health conditions are among the most vulnerable to complications from Covid-19, so it is especially important for them to stay at home right now. If you know someone at risk or elderly in your neighborhood, consider checking in on them periodically. You can also ask if you can help shop and deliver groceries for them.
If you have general questions or want information about the coronavirus, you can call the Orange County Health Agency Referral line at 1-833-426-6411 or visit their website. For businesses that need assistance, the Economic & Business Recovery Call Center offers information and resources to help Orange County companies navigate current economic difficulties, including lay-off aversion, loans, and utility reduction programs. They can be reached at 714-480-6500 Monday–Friday.
Finally, we hope you are able to take care of your own health and well-being in the midst of this pandemic. If possible, get outside for some sunshine and exercise (while safely social distancing), do your best to stay healthy, and if you or someone you know is struggling to get through this time, you can call or text the NAMI OC Warmline at 714-991-6412, which provides emotional support and resources to Orange County residents. The Covid-19 outbreak is a rapidly-changing, fluid situation and all of us at Innovative Career hope to get back to normal soon. Take care, and we hope that you remain healthy and safe during this time.