As we socially isolate in response to COVID-19, we are all gaining a greater appreciation of our homes, which as New Yorkers, mean so much more than the physical spaces we live in.
They encompass our unique neighborhoods, our fellow neighbors, and our community at large. That’s why we are determined to support the people and places that make our great city feel like home – from our homes. In Warburg’s special Community Support Edition of Culturally Inclined, we share a few ways we can all do so.
A term dubbed by a Canadian citizen that did not exist a few days ago has quickly grown into an organized community movement. “Caremongering” is a way to promote random acts of kindness and to encourage those who can safely do so to help neighbors who are elderly, have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk, or cannot otherwise go shopping or take care of certain tasks.
Keep in mind that many healthcare workers may also need help with things like shopping, as they might be pulling double shifts. This can be as simple as knocking on the door of elderly neighbor’s before making a grocery run to ask if they need anything. Another way to help others in your community is to create a Facebook group where neighbors can share tips (and cute animal videos to keep spirits up) as well as ask for or offer assistance.
Hello Alfred, a New York-based tech startup that provides on-demand hospitality services to residential buildings, is now making their service available to local households and people who need help. They’re able to provide safe and guaranteed weekly deliveries of any food, medicine, or supplies upon request with no delays. Learn more about signing up for the new program here.
Organizations such as City Harvest, City Meals on Wheels, Food Bank for New York City, and God’s Love We Deliver are seeing or anticipating an increased need for their services. All these organizations accept cash donations; some, including the Bowery Mission, are also accepting donations of food, cleaning supplies, and other essentials. The Bowery Mission and other local organizations such as New York Common Pantry have Amazon Charity List pages where you can order their most needed items to be delivered to them. You can also volunteer to package or deliver food for such groups.
As more people become infected with COVID-19, blood drives are being canceled and the pool of potential donors is becoming smaller. The result: a shortage of blood, platelets, and plasma. While the Red Cross is perhaps the best-known organization to accept blood donations, it may not have a center open near you at this time. AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), America’s Blood Centers, and the New York Blood Center, however, do have donation sites open throughout the area.
Humans are not the only ones in need of assistance. Many animal welfare organiza-tions are no longer adopting out pets at this time, and those that are, such as Animal Haven and Bideawee, are doing so only by appointment. As a result, groups such as Muddy Paws Rescue are seeking people to foster pets. And just about every organization could benefit from donations of money or supplies. (Animal Care Centers of NYC, for one, has its own Amazon Charity List.) The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has a list of local shelters and welfare groups.
Ordering food takeout or delivery is one (delicious) way to support local businesses. If you would like to try something other than your tried-and-true takeout spot, Resy has a list of eateries still open for delivery or pick-up. If you want to help the workers of your favorite restaurant, check out Bailout.nyc to see if it is among the establish-ments that has set up a Venmo account for their staff, who will receive 100% of the proceeds.
Independent bookstores had it rough even before COVID-19. Since this is as good a time as any to catch up on your reading, consider shopping online from one of the local booksellers still open. Park Slope’s Community Bookstore offers free delivery; Book Club, Books Are Magic, McNally Jackson, and Rizzoli Bookstore are shipping orders.
Gyms may be closed, but some local fitness studios are offering live virtual classes. These provide the camaraderie missing from working out to a recorded session while helping the businesses and instructors stay afloat. Harlem Yoga Studio offers several yoga classes each day via Zoom; Fhitting Room is also live-streaming its flagship HIIT workouts throughout the day. Rumble Boxing’s live morning workouts on Instagram are a great way to start your day and work out any stress. Gotta dance? Join 305 Fitness’ twice-daily dance cardio classes on YouTube.
By purchasing a gift card from a restaurant, salon, entertainment venue, or shop now for future use provides those businesses with funds to help ensure their survival. Help Main Street is continually updating its by-no-means-comprehensive list of local companies selling gift cards; you can also check the websites of your favorite restaurants and shops.
Once life returns to some semblance of normal, there is apt to be pent-up demand for restaurants, shops, and the like. Good reviews on online forums like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Facebook can help your favorites attract new customers. A new website / Instagram account called Support NYC is also crowd sourcing New Yorkers’ favorite small businesses by neighborhood. Download one of their free Instagram story templates and tag them along with your beloved local spots to add them on their master list.
Museums of all sizes generally depend on tourism, event attendance, and regular donations from patrons to operate. But closures due to COVID-19 are putting some of New York’s smaller cultural institutions in a particularly difficult financial position, Children’s Museum of the Arts and the Tenement Museum among them. If you have a favorite art institution in the City that you love – consider making a donation to show your support.