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How to Give Back During COVID-19

How to Give Back During COVID-19

Giving back obviously helps others, but it also helps you. All our lives have been affected by this unprecedented time, but we can still effect positive change. Giving back helps us realize that we’re not alone and really are “all in this together.” It enables you to make new like-minded friendships, improve the health and mental well-being of others and yourself, and will even look good on your resume. Here are some of the ways you can become one of the helpers:

Support other small businesses

  • Hire a local contractor to make building improvements: roof repair or replacement, gutter cleaning, landscaping
  • Buy gift cards now to use at a later date
  • Add a tip to your total when ordering delivery or takeout
  • Volunteer your web design, writing, marketing, legal, or financial services to local businesses

Become a mentor

Use your knowledge and experience to help others achieve their life goals. 

Become a pen pal

Some individuals are facing more challenges and isolation than others. A friendly note takes only a few minutes of your time and it could make someone’s entire day.

Adopt or foster a furry pal

If you’re working from home, now might be the perfect time to introduce a new family member! Contact Animal Friends, the Humane Animal Rescue, or Steel City Dog Rescue.

Put your talents to good use

We all have abilities beyond our job skills that can be used to help.

 Provide a service

Have a car, a scanner, or time to volunteer? See how you can help below.
  • Meals on Wheels provides nutrition and friendship for at-risk seniors
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank helpers are found in the repack center, on the farms, distributing produce, or helping with clerical support
  • 412 Food Rescue prevents perfectly good food from entering the food waste stream by redirecting it to those who are experiencing food insecurity. You can help deliver food from their network of local organizations to those in need with their Food Rescue Hero app
  • Bookshare is an ebook library that makes reading easier for those with reading barriers. They need people to scan books and proofread scans
  • Crisis Text Line provides 30 hours of free crisis counselor training if you’re able to donate a minimum of 200 hours to help those in need


If you’re in the fortunate position of being able to make a monetary donation, consider the following:
  • Christopher's Kitchen provides food and drink to those who are in the hospital with their loved ones.They fill pantries at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and at the Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center for families who are hungry while waiting with their sick or injured children.
  • The WHO’s COVID Solidarity Relief Fund leads the global response to track the virus spread, ensure patient care and PPE for frontline workers, and accelerate vaccine and treatment development
  • Shelter Listings lists homeless shelters by city. Check the website or call a shelter near you to see what they most need, then make a contactless donation.
We can't possibly list all of the deserving nonprofits on this page, but you can always check out a list of local organizations in need of donations.

Donate blood

This ultimate gift has the power to heal and provide second chances. Contact Vitalant or American Red Cross


If you want to volunteer, but still aren’t sure where to start, the following organizations list specific opportunities. Find one that’s right for you.

Be patient and be kind

We’re all under more stress due to the pandemic and while these gestures may seem small, they can make a big difference for someone.
  • Cook for an elderly or ill neighbor or relative. Wash your hands for 20 seconds, of course, and wear a mask when preparing, packing, and delivering food. Call ahead and leave your delivery at their doorstep.
  • Contact a friend, an old classmate or teacher, or relative who lives alone. Let them know how much you enjoy talking with them and that you think of them often.
  • Be especially kind to our healthcare workers, paramedics, firefighters, police, sanitation workers, and delivery persons. We all owe them a great deal of gratitude.

Take care of yourself

One of the best services you can do for your community is to stay safe and follow the CDC and WHO guidelines. Not spreading the virus is the most important way you can help!
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