During this challenging time, El Camino Health remains committed to meeting the needs of our community — and by following the safety guidelines outlined by the CDC, you can help our community too! In addition to practicing proper social distancing, there are plenty of other ways to stay connected and support important community programs without putting yourself at risk.
Package and distribute meals at a food pantry
If you are in good health and have time, volunteers are still physically needed at food banks to package and distribute food to the community. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley was officially named an essential business by the California Department of Public Health in March, and they are still committed to servicing those in the community who have been disproportionately affected by this crisis. On their site, you can find a volunteer sign-up sheet and a list of partner agencies who also need help at their distribution centers. All volunteers are expected to wash hands frequently, wear gloves at all times and practice social distancing while sorting and boxing food. While they are not currently accepting non-perishable donations, those looking for another way to contribute can donate online at any time.
Sew or ship safety supplies to shelters
While most housing shelters have suspended in-kind donations such as clothing, hygiene items and household goods, these facilities are still in need of protective equipment like masks, cleaning supplies, thermometers and gloves. If you have the ability to sew, ship or donate any of these items, you can provide critical support to staff and guests while these shelters continue to operate. The organization HomeFirst has opened two new shelters in Santa Clara County to serve the un-housed community during these unprecedented times. For another way to give back, you can make an online donation to their cause here.
Volunteer your time virtually
Simple acts of kindness can help create community solidarity as we address the pandemic together. Even if you can’t leave the house, you can still virtually volunteer your time from the safety of your home. Consider other ways, both big and small, that you can help your community during this challenging time:
- If you know a child who is sitting at home, find ways to mentor him or her online. Look for virtual activities to do together that will help bridge the learning gap caused by school closures, and help students keep pace with their learning so they aren’t behind when they return to school in the fall.
- Calling elderly community members who might need extra companionship is a rewarding way to spend some free time. The nonprofit foundation Heart of the Valley, Services for Seniors has closed until social distancing guidelines are lifted, but you can sign up to be a Friendly Caller by calling their office at (408) 241-1571 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Animal shelters such as the Humane Society of Silicon Valley have had to close due to the shelter in place mandate. You can still donate online or shop their Amazon Wish List to ship supplies straight to their door.
- Support the essential workers in your neighborhood and help make sure they have what they need. Consider ordering food or groceries to be delivered to their house, or simply call to check in and brighten their spirits.
- Don’t forget to support local businesses! You can still shop local by ordering from your favorite stores online, or by buying gift cards that you can use in the future.
- All El Camino Health hospitals continue to care for patients and are operating with our full capabilities. We are continuing to accept donations through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which helps our hospitals defray the unexpected and burdensome costs associated with the pandemic. In addition to financial support, we are also accepting in-kind donations of new and unopened medical and sanitation supplies.
Now is the time for us to come together and keep our community strong – through this emergency and beyond. We encourage you to find ways to help your community while following proper social distancing guidelines to keep yourself — and others — healthy and safe.