10 Ways to Help Our Bravest & Most Vulnerable

Dear All, I’ve completed my 90-day trial of 2020. How do I cancel? I don’t pay much attention to the viral humor that lands in my inbox. So I nearly missed the quip about the 2020 90-day trial because it was sandwiched between a recipe for “quarantinis” and a joke about how 88% of the world’s blonds will disappear in 8 weeks. I’ve completed my 90-day trial of 2020. How do I cancel?  If only. Instead, grim predictions from doctors and scientists about the pandemic’s course are lodged in a box in the upper right corner of my television screen. The world has turned upside down and exploded into a new reality that continues to be as humbling as it is instructive. Every day is a crash course in resilience, a primer in what my father, who grew up during the Depression, used to tell me, “You could live with a lot less.”  I try to restore balance by forging new patterns to replace those that have vanished. I scramble to overcome my technology phobia so that “social distancing” doesn’t morph into “emotional distancing.” I embrace new habits like wiping down doorknobs to flesh out the nascent framework of this new normal. One minute it feels like some semblance of normalcy has returned. The next, it feels like I am walking a high line without a net. Or, as Hamlet says to his father’s ghost, “Time is out of joint.”

So I turn to those on the frontlines to lift my spirits — the beleaguered doctors, nurses and medical workers, who somehow, against all odds, personify courage and character. Their stories break my heart and inspire me at the same time. Soldiering on without the life-saving personal protective equipment they need, still they persist. In a reality show culture where the word “hero” is overused, they merit the honor just by showing up to work. Looking for an off-ramp from my own high anxiety, I decided to follow the advice of the wise pop culture philosopher Jon Bon Jovi. He’s on a mission to rally Americans to “participate in this story,” to use this crisis to build a better nation. How? “If you can’t do what you do,” Bon Jovi sings in his new release, “Do what you can.”  As someone who’s always turned to activism as the antidote to angst, that meant ferreting out some of the best ways to help the heroes who are putting their own lives on the line for us. Below you’ll find a list of non-profit organizations recognized for their philanthropic excellence. Some provide immediate COVID-19-related assistance to nurses, hospital workers, and those in low wage service jobs. Others support some of the most vulnerable among us — domestic violence/sexual assault victims, the homeless and the hungry — who are suffering disproportionately during this pandemic.  How to Help Nurses, Frontline Medical Workers, Vulnerable Communities   American Nurses Foundation - Coronavirus Response Fund Support nurses on the frontlines by donating to the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses, an initiative that Johnson & Johnson kicked off with a $1.5million grant. The fund will provide direct assistance to nurses including mental health support as well as the latest science-based info to ensure maximum protection and safety while working in the field. How to donate: *Text THANKS to 20222 to make a $10 donation *Online: You can designate your contribution to the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses by clicking on this link American Nurses Foundation website Direct Relief - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ICU support  “Disaster relief done right” is the animating spirit of this non-profit that deploys aid to ameliorate disasters ranging from wildfires to extreme weather events to humanitarian crises. Direct Relief is delivering protective masks – along with exam gloves and isolation gowns – to health care organizations. They are also bolstering critical care capacity by building a stockpile of vital ICU medications that will inevitably be needed as the number of ICU patients spikes. Direct Relief’s work earns wide recognition from independent charity evaluation agencies, including a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes, a spot on Charity Navigator’s list of the “10 Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of,” and inclusion in Fast Company’s list of “the world’s most innovative nonprofits.” Donate OnlineClick on this link Direct Relief website Center for Disaster Philanthropy - COVID-19 Response Fund - Healthcare workers, most vulnerable populations Giving to CDP is the equivalent to one-click pandemic support that will benefit a diverse group of beneficiaries — from frontline healthcare workers to the neediest among us with a variety of services. The CDP COVID-19 Response Fund focuses on supporting nonprofit organizations which work directly to respond to the pandemic among the most  vulnerable including hourly wage earners, workers in the gig economy, immigrants, older adults, people with disabilities and others most susceptible to the physical health, mental health and economic impacts of this crisis. Donate OnlineClick on this link Center for Disaster Philanthropy website Connecticut Option: United Way of Greater Waterbury/Connecticut Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund The new fund is designed to support trusted, frontline community organizations that meet the basic needs of local residents in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. Resources will be directed to organizations serving high need, vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals and residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days; immigrants; persons with disabilities; and communities of color, among others. Donate OnlineClick on this link United Way of Greater Danbury COVID-19 website  One Fair Wage Emergency Fund - Restaurant, gig, tipped service workers Some of the workers hardest hit by quarantine measures and the cratering economy are restaurant workers, gig workers (including Uber and Lyft drivers,) and other tipped service workers, most of whom are paid below minimum wage and can’t make ends meet without tips from customers. As One Fair Wage says on its website, “Now it’s our turn to serve them." Through the emergency fund, One Fair Wage is providing cash assistance to tens of thousands who were already struggling before the double-barreled crisis hit.  Donate OnlineClick on this link One Fair Wage Emergency Fund website How To Help Feed the Hungry/Food Insecure (Including school children) Feeding America - COVID-19 Response Fund Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief network in the U.S., launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, a national food- and fund-raising effort to support people facing hunger and the food banks who help them. They’re also partnering with school districts and local government agencies to ensure that the 22 million children who rely on school meals have access to food outside of the classroom. Donate OnlineClick on this link Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund website Give to Your Local Food Bank If you prefer to give to the food bank or food pantry in your area, you can find the closest locations by clicking on this link, then choosing your state and filling in your address.  Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Victims The National Domestic Violence Hotline “Domestic violence often escalates during and after a disaster,” said Connie Neal, executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Now, experts say we’re on the cusp of a domestic violence crisis fueled by a perfect storm of stay-at-home rules, anxiety and a ravaged economy triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the police in Seattle — one of the first cities hit with an outbreak — have already logged a 21% increase in domestic violence reports. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is the only national, full-service hotline that answers the call for both victims and survivors, along with concerned friends, family, co-workers and others seeking information and guidance on how to help someone they know. Confidential, one-on-one support is provided along with options for next steps and direct connection to sources for immediate safety. The Hotline’s comprehensive database holds more than 5,000 agencies and resources in communities all across the country. Bilingual advocates are on hand to speak with callers as well as translation services in 170 different languages. Donate onlineClick on this link National Domestic Violence Hotline website Connecticut Option - Susan B. Anthony Project COVID-19 Fund - Full range of services for domestic violence/sexual assault victims Women and children who live with domestic violence have no escape from their abusers during quarantine. “Isolation creates enhanced vulnerability for sexual violence victims,” said Jeanne Fusco, Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Project, “and, our current stay-at-home circumstances exacerbate that isolation and vulnerability."  The Susan B. Anthony Project provides crisis and support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. All services are confidential, free and available 24/7. Donate OnlineClick this link Susan B. Anthony Project website Homeless Services An estimated 550,000 homeless individuals — including families with children — have a double vulnerability to the coronavirus. They are more susceptible to contracting the disease because of the cramped quarters in shelters, the sharing of utensils and the lack of hand-washing stations on the streets. Once infected, the chronically homeless are more likely to get much sicker or die because of underlying medical conditions and a lack of reliable health care.  National Homeless Shelter Directory - Click on your state, then click on your town or city and find the closest homeless shelter or service organization near you. To use the interactive map, click here. Finally, when it comes to stepping up to save America, forget the Trump administration. We can step up ourselves to play a part in the shared responsibility of this national crisis. Or, as President Obama said famously, “We are ones we’ve been waiting for.” Now, “the ones" in this “Rise Up" video, that salutes our nurses, first responders, doctors and medical workers are waiting for us, too.  Stay well. Onward, Jane

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