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How you can help elderly people in NYC right away amid the coronavirus outbreak

Collier Sutter
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Collier Sutter

By now, you’ve probably witnessed (first-hand or via social media) supermarkets emptied of goodsincluding toilet paper dairy items and meat—due to folks stockpiling and panic-buying out of fear over coronavirus. While most of us can head back out to shop once the stores become restocked, it's a much higher health risk for the hardest hit demographics of the coronavirus, including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

If you want to know what you can do help, from donating funds to physically volunteering, we’ve rounded up a tidy list of amazing organizations that are rallying to ensure food, aid, and medical supplies are delivered to those who are in need while alone during this outbreak.

Heights and Hills: This Brooklyn-based organization works with over a thousand seniors who receive care at home and may be unusually isolated and in need of support or medical attention during the coronavirus pandemic. You can easily help by volunteering to check in with them over the phone. They are providing "virtual training and a call script to each volunteer, so no need to worry that you won’t know what to say! Volunteers will ask basic questions about how seniors are feeling, whether they have enough food and medication, and what other kinds of support might be helpful. You’ll record the information from the call in an easy-to-use form so that Heights and Hills can follow up with individuals," they explain here. For now they're starting with phone outreach but soon many need volunteers to bring meals to seniors too. 

Invisible Hands: This group created by four young New Yorkers offers volunteer services for all at-risk New York and Jersey City residents. Volunteers work to bring elderly or those with a pre-existing conditions groceries and supplies. Their website also states that they are here to help anyone who is in need. If you’re feeling healthy and would like to volunteer with invisible hands, click here. If you know someone in need of a helper: Go to and fill out the 'request a delivery' form. "We call ourselves invisible hands because, unfortunately, given what is known about COVID-19 we want to minimize as much direct contact in our deliveries as possible. But don’t worry, you will talk on the phone with your volunteer and you can tell each other a little about yourselves! In this incredibly isolating time we’re happy to provide you a connection,” they explain in their mission.

Meals on Wheels: This organization delivers meals to the country’s elderly. Many of their local programs are currently struggling though this pandemic with less volunteers on deck to pack food and help deliver meals to home-based seniors. The organization is calling to the public to donate and volunteer when able. To help out you can donate funds, or items such as canned meats, canned fruits, peanut butter, boxes of cereal, unopened packs of toilet paper, paper towel, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer. You can find more ways to help out a local program here or donate to the national organization here.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: This national organization is supporting local nonprofits in regions with a high number of affected individuals and those most vulnerable. They are providing help for hourly wage earners, gig economy workers, immigrant populations, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and other communities vulnerable to the physical and economic impacts of the current pandemic. You can donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund

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