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9 Ways To Support Healthcare Workers Right Now

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If you're sitting on your couch anxiously watching the pandemic unfold on TV, well first of all, good for you for staying home! As that is the number one helpful thing we can do right now. But many of us are also desperate to offer support to those on the front lines. Which is why I've rounded up some things you can do to help healthcare workers right now.

It's heartbreaking to think of what our doctors and nurses and emergency responders are going through. They're exhausted, stressed, and putting their own health and safety at risk every single day. Many of them can no longer see their own families, due to the possibility of exposing their loved ones to the virus. (This photo of a dad seeing his son crawl for the first time through a window is straight-up sob-inducing...)

But rather than wring our hands and despair, let's get busy! Let's do what we can to help all of the incredibly brave, amazing healthcare workers out there. As we are homebound, the internet is really our number one tool for offering assistance right now. So get your laptop, pull up a chair, and pick something — however big or small — to show some support.

1. Send Pizza

This awesome app, Slice Out Hunger, lets you donate money to send a pizza to a local hospital or medical center. It's great, because not only are you sending a pie to hungry healthcare workers, you're also helping out local restaurants by giving them a bit of badly needed business.

2. Send Coffee

Right now, many of our doctors and nurses are running on very little sleep, and could badly use a cup of joe. While Starbucks recently stepped up to offer free coffee to medical workers, you can help out, too. Reach out to a hospital and ask what kind of coffee maker they have, and if you can send them a shipment of coffee pods or grounds. In some places, local businesses have also set up sites where people can donate coffee.

3. Buy Them Dinner

Writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have set up a GoFundMe to buy meals from local restaurants and have them delivered to five East Bay hospitals in the badly hit Bay area. Make your donation here! And here's a whole list of places you can donate to in Los Angeles to provide meals for emergency workers. Check around with local businesses, see if they are offering care packages. Or, reach out to a healthcare worker you know, and ask if you can buy their groceries this week. Have them send you a list, then have the groceries delivered to their door.

4. Masks, Masks, Masks

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There are lots of different ways to get desperately needed protective face masks. If you have a stock of masks or other protective gear you can donate, this site is a handy guide for how to get them to healthcare workers. Or put those sewing skills to use. Joann Fabrics is giving away supplies to have people stitch homemade masks. Once they're completed, the masks can be dropped back off for distribution.

5. Donate To A GoFundMe

There are loads of GoFundMe charities specifically set up right now for healthcare workers. Go to the site and find one that speaks to you. Remember, it doesn't matter how big a donation is. Every little bit can help!

6. Help Out With Childcare

This is a tricky one, but if you're in a position where you can provide assistance with childcare, Sittercity is actively looking for sitters to help out emergency responders. (The site is also offering three months of a free Sittercity Premium membership to first responders in Chicago, which I must say kind of makes me love Sittercity.)

7. Stay. At. Home.

Yes. I know I already said it. And I know it feels like the world's most boring/passive way to be helpful. But again: the number one thing we can do to help healthcare workers is to not spread covid-19 or get sick ourselves. So yes — you may consider bingeing Netflix your patriotic duty.

8. Donate Blood

I know this seems to contradict number seven, but the Red Cross badly needs blood donations right now, and they've set up a safe way to do it. Their new protocol involves things like "enhanced disinfecting of equipment, providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment, temperature checks before presenting donors enter the blood drive or donation center, and spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between donors." Make an appointment to donate.

9. Express Your Gratitude Virtually

Make cards, posters, videos, signs — whatever you can think of — and post them to social media, tagging your local hospital or specific healthcare workers. Or text them straight to doctors or nurses you know! While the instinct of course is to put all those homemade cards in the mail, that can actually be a health risk and spread germs. Another option: hang a banner from your home, or place a sign in your front yard.