How to Help
LAST UPDATED: May 7, 2020
How to Help Now
Prepared by the Office of Senator Scott D. Wiener (D-San Francisco)
As much as possible, people should stay home to avoid transmitting the virus inadvertently. However, there is a need for volunteers to help serve those at-risk, especially seniors and those experiencing food insecurity.
Where to volunteer:
- The state is offering volunteer opportunities, which you can learn about at california volunteers.ca.gov.
- The California Association of Food Banks website is another great resource for constituents to locate food banks in their community for both assistance and volunteer opportunities.
- There are several volunteer-matching programs being coordinated throughout San Francisco.
- Shanti is working with the city to create a coordinated volunteer effort. Call: 415.674.4701 or go to www.shanti.org/cerv to learn more.
- The city is also teaming up with Palo Alto-based Mon Ami to connect volunteers with people in need of errands or conversational phone calls. The city’s volunteer website is here.
- You can also visit Together SF at https://www.togethersf.org/ to find volunteer matching.
- The SF Office of Trans Initiatives is also coordinating volunteer-matching to aid LGBTQ community organizations. Sign-up here to help provide community needs, and here to volunteer.
- The Red Cross is running blood drives - most of them at Red Cross donation centers in the East Bay. If you're able to give, it can help address the national blood shortage.
If you are able to donate - and particularly if you usually donate to non-profits at galas and events that they have canceled this year - we strongly encourage you to do so.
Government-coordinated giving programs:
- San Francisco is coordinating giving through give2sf.org.
- The state is also working to collect donations for an online fundraiser seeking to collect a quarter-million dollars for technology for distance learning; prospective corporate and institutional donors are asked to email email@example.com.
- San Mateo County is coordinating giving through the San Mateo County Strong Fund.
- United Way Bay Area’s Community Relief Fund will distribute donations to local organizations and nonprofits in need
- The San Francisco Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will make grants to non-profits addressing COVID-19.
Other ideas for donating?
- Host a virtual fundraiser: You can contact a nonprofit and offer to host a virtual event or fundraiser, and gather your friends, family, and community to donate. Just because in-person events aren’t happening doesn’t mean organizations don’t need to fundraise. Or, if you had been planning on hosting a fundraiser or putting together a table for an event before the shelter-in-place order, you can still ask people who were going to attend to contribute online.
- Become a monthly member: Don’t have the means to give a large amount of money? Small monthly gifts, even $5 a month, can help nonprofits weather this storm. Many nonprofits have a monthly membership program where you can donate small recurring amounts. Sometimes memberships even come with perks — like discounts to merchandise or access to exclusive events. For example, if you become a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, you get great discounts at local bike shops and restaurants.