As the coronavirus pandemic widens, the need for food, supplies, and protective gear increases. Just this month, Second Harvest Food Bank saw the number of meals that they prepare daily ramp up from 1,000 to 6,000 meals per day, with an eventual goal of 10,000. In addition to food, the need for Personal Protective Equipment and face coverings has also skyrocketed. Luckily, there are a number of New Orleans organizations dedicated to collecting these items, and even some that welcome volunteers to help in the process. While monetary donations are always a great way to support these initiatives, here’s a few ways you can quite literally lend a helping hand.
With the CDC now recommending the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of coronavirus, there’s a new campaign that’s been launched to mitigate the shortage. Sew Dat encourages those with a sewing machine to make these face coverings and donate to this cause so that public employees and essential workers may have access to them. Essential business owners and employees can also request coverings through this site.
The Junior League of New Orleans launched its diaper bank in 2014 and is now needed more than ever. Purchase diapers and have them delivered to the bank via Amazon, or consider making a monetary donation to the fund. Diaper donations can also be dropped off to JLNO Headquarters (4319 Carondelet St.) on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With hospitals in critical need of Personal Protective Equipment, Supplies for Saints has launched to collect donations of masks, gowns, and gloves. Contact email@example.com or call (504) 988-3000 to make donation arrangements.
In addition to food and cleaning/ sanitation supplies donations that anyone can drop off Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m to 5 p.m. at their Elmwood location, Second Harvest is also looking for volunteers to help sort, package, and distribute the donated items. As the need grows for food, so too does the need for volunteers. Opportunities exist across the New Orleans area as well as at their Elmwood warehouse (700 Edwards Ave.).
Sign up to volunteer at the Giving Hope Food Pantry through Second Harvest, or on the Giving Hope website here. This community center in New Orleans East has transformed into a drive-thru food pantry and is serving 300 families daily and thousands each week.
United Way of Southeastern Louisiana and Hands on New Orleans have partnered to create the city’s leading volunteer center during the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteer needs include meal packagers for senior citizens at the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, meal delivery drivers, and virtual volunteering including mentoring students and calling seniors. All volunteers follow critical health and safety protocols to maintain safety.
The GNO Caring Collective was formed in 2020 as response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working to provide groceries, cleaning supplies, prescription pickup and delivery to anyone who needs it. They have strict safety protocols and practice no-contact deliveries. They also offer laundry and rides to appointments. They are currently looking for more volunteers, especially those who speak Spanish.
The Broadmoor Improvement Association is continuing to provide emergency food assistance through their food pantry at the Broadmoor Community Church on Mondays and Wednesdays, and are looking for delivery drivers to get food out to seniors and homebound residents. The BIA is also looking for remote volunteers to help with phonebanking seniors in Broadmoor to offer support. If interested, please email Sarah Pritchard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical Volunteer Opportunities
The City of New Orleans is building a network of volunteers to support public health and medical efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Volunteers may be used for a variety of clinical and non-clinical tasks under the direction of the New Orleans Health Department and the State of Louisiana Department of Health. This is a volunteer position. For interested individuals who have a medical or behavioural health background, please register to volunteer here!
For more on how to donate and volunteer, see ready.nola.gov.