People wait in line for the Food Bank at the New York City mobile food pantry on the Barclays Center plaza on April 24, 2020 in the Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Communities across the country are coming together right now in an unprecedented time of need to help one another meet their basic needs. With unemployment rates skyrocketing, and millions of essential workers continuing to risk their health to serve communities nationwide, more and more people are in need of extra support right now, in financial and other ways.
There are plenty of ways to give back to the most vulnerable communities in need right now. One way you can help is by giving to organizations that are supporting immigrant communities, organizations on the frontlines of food justice, and organizations funding essential medical procedures like abortion care and post-breast cancer breast reconstruction surgery. A lot of people could use a little extra help right now, which is why Giving Tuesday is making a May comeback this year.
Although Giving Tuesday typically falls on the week after Thanksgiving, this year, the extra effort to help is coming back for a second incarnation on May 5. On a day where people can give back to non-profits and grassroots organizations that could help their community most, the Springtime movement, called Giving Tuesday Now, will provide everyone a chance to help at-need communities suffering from the pandemic most. Here are six ways you can give back this Giving Tuesday.
Donate to local mutual aid networks
Mutual aid networks operate on the basis of “solidarity, not charity,” making it a process of supporting communities based on their needs, rather than from a top-down approach. Since lockdowns started in March, people have needed extra support as millions of people have lost their source of income. As a result, mutual aid networks have been popping up around the country, as communities work to help each other get food, medicine, sanitation materials, and more. Here, you can find a list of local mutual aid funds to support; you can find an indigenous mutual aid fund to support; or you can support a student mutual aid fund.
Fight for abortion rights & care
Abortion rights, which were under attack from conservatives before the pandemic, are even more at risk as anti-abortionists have used coronavirus as an “opportunity” to attempt to rollback this essential medical procedure. On April 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit allowed the state of Arkansas to ban most abortions as part of its COVID-19 restrictions, Rewire News reported.
While abortion care is still available in most states, access to care has been further destabilized in states like Louisiana, Indiana, and Kentucky, to name a few. You can give to these local funds, or to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which works with member organizations to help people get the care they need.
Support incarcerated people at risk
While the work of releasing incarcerated people is always urgent, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated this already existing public health crisis, as prisons and jails have become hotbeds for the virus. The federal bureau of prisons says more than 70% of people incarcerated in federal prisons have COVID-19, making the release of prisoners especially urgent.
As such, the National Bail Fund Network has put together a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for community bail and bond funds to get as many people out of detention as possible. You can donate to the rapid response fund, or a local bail fund of your choice. Some of the worst outbreaks have been seen at Rikers Island in New York and the Cook County Jail in Illinois.
Fund cancer research
Cancer patients are far more vulnerable right now with the added risk of exposure to coronavirus, and are more likely to die from the virus than those without cancer because of their compromised immune systems. The pandemic has not only affected cancer patients, but also their families and caregivers.
With cancer patients now having to change their treatment plans — moving mostly to teleconference and having to increasingly attend hospital visits alone — there are a few ways you can help. Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is committed to helping the cancer community right now and has developed resources to help cancer patients and caregivers at this time. You can also support the AiRS Foundation with its goal of raising $10,000 to help people who have lost jobs — and their insurance, as a result — to afford breast reconstruction surgery.
Donate or help at food banks
Food banks have been struggling to keep up with the surge in demand in the midst of the pandemic. They’re also facing food shortages as food drives are getting cancelled, and their supply sources like grocery stores are being reduced. As a result, some food banks are having to pay higher costs to get the food they need to serve their communities.
You can help food banks meet these demands by supporting organizations like Feeding America, the largest network of hunger-relief organizations across the U.S. and giving to their coronavirus relief fund. You can also support smaller mutual aid organizations like local Food Not Bombs chapters, which are celebrating 40 years of providing communities with vegan meals, groceries, and emotional support
Support immigrants & immigration rights
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week to put a 60-day ban on green cards for most immigrants, yet another crackdown on some of the most vulnerable people in this moment of crisis. Undocumented communities have also not received the same federal assistance as American citizens who are receiving stimulus checks thanks to a Congressional coronavirus relief package.
There are a number of ways you can help immigrants get the support they need in this moment, by funding efforts to release immigrants from detention, and distribute funds to immigrant workers. You can give to the Fianza Fund, a grassroots effort that helps with the release of immigrant families from detention; the National Domestic Workers Alliance coronavirus care fund, which provides emergency assistance to domestic workers; or the Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation, which provides financial assistance to support undocumented families.
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