The current state of the world is an interesting one, to say the least. March 2020 started off with a bang as the Covid-19 virus spread to what the World Health Organization declared a pandemic level. In this time of confusion and mild panic, many Americans are rushing to stock up on essentials such as food, water and toilet paper just in case things go further south.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege to do so. As places of congregation such as schools and churches shut their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of disease, many D.C. residents will have less access to basic necessities. While it is important to keep some “social distancing,” it’s also important to remember your fellow Washingtonians and lend a (sanitized) hand to those in need. District Fray has rounded up a number of charities and nonprofits that you can support in order to ease the strain during this time.
This list will be updated periodically as news and more information becomes available, if you’d like to suggest other ways to give back locally, please email [email protected]
After-School All-Stars (ASAS) normally provides free after-school programs to low-income students across 6 D.C. schools in Wards 7 and 8. In light of the pandemic, their physical programs had to come to a halt. Despite these trying times, ASAS has continued to work and adapt to the situation in order to continue serving D.C. residents. ASAS has been commissioned by the Mayor’s office to run a childcare center for children of first responders, healthcare professionals and essential government personnel, are distributing electronic meal vouchers to families (made possible by a $3 million donation from TikTok) and they will soon be launching a digital learning arts after-school program for students to participate in once they have completed their required digital school sessions. If you would like to assist ASAS in their endeavor, please consider donating here.
The American Red Cross urges healthy, eligible individuals to schedule blood donation appointments to help maintain a sufficient blood product supply and avoid any potential shortages in this time. Donating blood now could help save lives.
The Arlington Food Assistance Center is in need of food donations to provide meals to Arlington families at this time. Grocery stores are unable to donate as much as they have in the past due to the heightened concern of keeping food stocked, but families still rely on AFAC for their groceries. Consider donating groceries, your time or funds. You may also register a food drive to help fellow Arlingtonians.
Arlington Public School teachers have created a GoFundMe called One Pantry at a Time, aiming to help food insecure families in Arlington while schools are closed. Many food insecure families rely on free and reduced meals provided by the school system to keep their children fed. By donating, you will help provide reliable meals to those families during this precarious time.
Ayuda works to provide social services, legal services and language access services to low-income immigrants in the DMV. Many immigrants will not be able to receive the same financial help that the government is affording to Americans, making Ayuda’s work more important than ever. Consider donating to provide essential assistance to your neighbors.
Black Lives Matter is continuing to fight racial injustice in the U.S. Covid-19 has devastated black and brown communities disproportionately, and on top of that police brutality is having to be protested yet again. Take action by donating to the movement, keeping yourself updated on the news and watching this web series to be better informed. D.C. protesters can be aided by supplying water, masks, snacks and more. Follow Black Lives Matter’s D.C. chapter on Twitter for information on drop-off sites. The D.C. chapter has also started a fundraiser for legal support.
Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation are creating virtual learning and fitness experiences to stay connected to their Club members during the prolonged social distancing practices of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Boys & Girls Clubs are also providing access to meals so in-need families in their communities will not have to worry about where they get their next meal. To support their efforts in our community, donate to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington here.
Bread for the City provides food, medical care, clothing and more to D.C.’s communities in need. Volunteering opportunities have, likewise, been suspended. Please donate here as they continue to provide essentials to the community.
Capital Area Food Bank will be adjusting the meals prepared for families in the district in order to reduce the amount of person-to-person contact and allow those receiving food to reduce trips made to food pickup locations. If you are healthy and able to, click here to find volunteer opportunities with Capital Area Food Bank. If you are able to donate, click here.
Casa Ruby provides shelter to LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness and vulnerability in D.C. They are unable to close as the youth they support would have no where else to go. Consider donating to help keep their doors open for those at risk in the LGBTQ+ community.
Chefs for Equality is an annual event that brings together the region’s top chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists to benefit the ongoing fight for LGBTQ equality through the work of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. Chefs for Equality has always been grateful for the generosity of the local food industry, and wants to give back by encouraging Washingtonians to order takeout and delivery from their long list of restaurants and bars. The HRC is also still in need of your support, so consider donating here.
DC Central Kitchen has suspended its volunteer program in the midst of worries, but it is still delivering food where most needed. In order to support the continued work of Central Kitchen, donate here.
D.C. and Maryland are getting ready to open drive-through COVID-19 testing sites, a large undertaking that requires all hands on deck. Both D.C.’s Department of Health and Maryland’s Department of Health are calling upon their citizens over the age of 18 to join in the effort to slow the spread of the virus as volunteers at these test sites. Both medical and non-medical volunteers may apply, you just must be willing to work on an as-needed basis. If you would like to volunteer in D.C., click here. If you would like to volunteer in Maryland, click here.
Direct Relief is coordinating with public health authorities, nonprofits and businesses in the U.S. and around the world to provide protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers responding to the novel coronavirus. Consider donating to help keep our medical personnel protected.
The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) knows that with everyone stuck at home, instances of domestic violence will increase. DASH is continuing to support survivors by setting up emergency housing, helping with rental fees at new housing and providing basic needs for those leaving unsafe situations. Help DASH by donating to their cause. They have also set up a Target registry outlining supplies needed to continue their work.
Feeding America is assisting food banks across America during the pandemic, you can do your part by making a donation or volunteering your time. To donate to the relief fund, click here. To find a food bank near you, click here.
First Book is hoping to bridge the learning gap caused by the pandemic response by donating 7 million books to students in need. With schools and after-school learning programs shutting down for health concerns, children who don’t have access to reliable internet or home libraries will be left behind in the classroom. Donate here to help supply learning resources to the lower income communities most affected by this virus.
Food and Friends has always delivered meals to those battling serious illnesses, but now their services are needed more than ever as the pandemic rages on. They are in great need of volunteer delivery drivers and kitchen volunteers, so if you have found yourself with extra time consider volunteering with Food and Friends. If you can’t volunteer, consider donating or starting your own fundraiser to aid the organization’s relief efforts.
Food it Forward is teaming up with Martha’s Table to deliver food to those most effected by the outbreak. Buy different meal packages to feed an individual or a family for a night or a week. Your purchase increases business with local restaurants and keeps workers employed in a time where many are getting laid off.
Food Rescue’s D.C. location is accepting food from any canceled events or restaurants closing during the next few weeks. If you would like to donate food, or find out where to get food, you can message the Food Rescue DC twitter.
Greater Washington Community Foundation works with donors and partners to enhance the quality of life in D.C., Montgomery County, Northern Virginia and Prince George’s County. The Community Foundation set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, focused on addressing urgent needs of adversely affected communities, especially low-income households and communities of color who are disproportionately impacted. Donate here to make a difference.
Hook Hall is distributing care kits and family meal kits to industry workers in the D.C. area. They encourage Washingtonians to donate to the Workers Relief Fund, purchase special offers or volunteer with them.
JCADA provides services to victims and survivors of power-based violence in D.C. for free. JCADA relies on the generosity of donors, and was unable to hold their regular 5k fundraiser this year due to social distancing laws. Support their cause and help save those stuck at home with abusers by donating.
Jose Andres’ Think Food Group is closing its restaurants in response to the virus outbreak and will utilize select locations as community kitchens. They are accepting a limited number of volunteers to help deliver food to the area. However, Andres’ World City Kitchen is mapping feeding efforts, delivering meals and forming community kitchens nationwide.
Martha’s Table is still accepting volunteers to assist in their effort to provide families with gift cards for groceries and at-home learning opportunities for students. Build grocery bags, prepare packaged meals or distribute hot meals to your community members. Learn about volunteer opportunities here, or learn how to donate essential items and food here.
Mess Hall has partnered with SB Works to provide relief to industry workers with their emergency fund. An anonymous donor has pledged to match donations up to $4,000, two to one, so donate now to maximize your pledge.
Miriam’s Kitchen has temporarily suspended its volunteer program in light of the virus. Meals and social services will still be provided to community members. To help support their ongoing efforts, donate here or email [email protected] for in-kind donations.
The National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) is collecting excess inventory from businesses to distribute to those in need. With many businesses needing to cut down on their inventory as they remain closed during this time, they can donate their overstock to NAEIR.
Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFC) is taking action to help those who live outside of the district’s borders. NVFC is accepting donations of food, goods, gift certificates or funds to be received by those in need. You can donate online or drop off supplies at 10056 Dean Dr, Manassas, VA. To limit person-to-person contact, you may also feel free to mail any goods to 10455 White Granite Dr #100, Oakton, VA.
Rainbow Families provides support and education to parents of LGBTQ children to ensure they have the tools to feel safe, valued and respected in their community. Like all other organizations, Rainbow families is adjusting their services in light of social distancing regulations. Help support their ongoing efforts by donating or by placing orders on Amazon through the charitable giving program.
So Others Might Eat (SOME) is suspending volunteer opportunities that are client facing, but are offering more behind the scenes opportunities for volunteers. To learn more about those opportunities, click here. You can also donate to SOME here. Item donations can be dropped off at 71 O St. NW on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Table Church has suspended in-person Sunday services and has moved to online services in the coming weeks to support the CDC’s call for social distancing. The Table Church is calling upon its parish and the public to volunteer to deliver prescriptions, groceries, walk animals and more for those in need. Those who cannot volunteer are encouraged to donate to support the church’s efforts.
THEARC, a project of Building Bridges Across the River, usually serves as a campus for multiple nonprofits providing access to the arts, medical care, tutoring and more to Ward 8 residents. While the campus is putting regular activities on hold, THEARC is dedicated to provided critical care to residents during this crisis. Support THEARC’s efforts by donating monetary funds, or critical items such as masks and gloves.
Thrive DC will continue providing meals, pantry bags and fresh produce bags to D.C. residents at scheduled times during the week. While Thrive will rely on regular volunteers for continued programmatic and administrative support, new volunteer opportunities are suspended until further notice. Thrive is prepared to become a food hub in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank if food insecurity becomes more pervasive during the health crisis. Donate to Thrive directly or via their Amazon wish list.
A Ward 1 community mutual aid GoFundMe has been created in order to raise money for supplies to help D.C. community members. While the fund has already reached its goal amount, you can still donate here. Every cent counts!
Wildbeest House has set up a Google Doc for easy communication with Tacoma Park community members to either request or offer assistance. Whether you need groceries, help making appointments, childcare or anything else, your neighbors will be at the ready. Wildbeest House also encourages other neighborhoods to use their Doc as a template to set up community care. Ward 1 has already followed suit.