If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 did, it’s exacerbating existing social and economic issues that are already happening in our communities. But nonprofit organizations didn’t falter. Although they, too, experienced setbacks (especially financially-speaking), they stepped up and made sure that their beneficiaries will be supported through these trying times. They designed programs, applied for funding support, and collaborated with each other to ensure that struggling communities will survive and thrive despite the pandemic. These are five nonprofits and their COVID-19 response programs.
Equipping Frontline Workers
When the United States rose to the top of the ranking of COVID-19 cases around the world, hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. It didn’t matter if the hospital was big or small—they were still overwhelmed. Healthcare staff was severely low on manpower and resources, especially because many members of their staff also contracted the coronavirus. But there’s one problem that needed to be addressed. And that is the low stock of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The good thing is that nonprofit organizations like Get Us PPE are there to ensure that hospitals are stocked with PPEs. The organization distributed free PPEs to hospitals. To date, it has distributed over 7.3 million PPEs. The work of Get Us PPE inspires other organizations and even companies to make sure that public establishments, not just hospitals, are safe from COVID-19. Infrared camera systems to detect fever were installed in entrances of public buildings. Sanitization centers were put up in different areas.
Closing the Digital Divide Caused by Distance Learning
When schools were mandated by the government to close their doors and transition to distance learning, many communities suffered. Yes, many schools around the country were able to transition with limited problems. But some students didn’t have proper access to technological equipment such as laptops and tablets. Thus, the digital divide between upper and lower socioeconomic classes widened.
Fortunately, First Book is among the many organizations that were ready to support students and teachers from underserved communities so they could successfully transition to distance learning. Through partnerships with the likes of Intel and the LEGO Foundation, First Book was able to support communities by granting them financial resources to purchase books, e-books, and other learning resources.
Ensuring Women’s and Children’s Safety and Welfare
Because quarantine restrictions ordered people to stay at home, cases of domestic violence rose as the pandemic continued to spread across the country and the world. Women and children were subjected to harmful and traumatizing experiences, and often felt in the past year that they didn’t have anyone to reach to for help.
But there are many organizations out there supporting those who were abused in their homes. One of them is Women Against Abuse, a nonprofit based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This organization provides resources for women who need legal support to build a case against their abusers. Women Against Abuse also ensures that women can always reach out to them for help. The organization’s legal center partners with the likes of Women’s Law Project and Philadelphia Legal Assistance to ensure that women and their children will always have a fighting chance in court.
Protecting the Environment
After decades of working hard to promote the end of plastic-use and other environmental initiatives, the COVID-19 pandemic set us back within just a few short months. In the interest of health safety and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, companies opted for single-use utensils, storage bags, etc. Because people were staying home, online shopping has become the norm. This meant that more plastic and boxes were used and disposed of on a daily basis. More vehicles were on the road, in the air, and on the seas, delivering much-needed goods but also realizing tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Because health safety is the priority, we can’t really stop people from using single-use items. But we can prevent other types of waste. This is what Conscious Alliance does. This organization combats food waste by taking close-to-code products, inventory mistakes, etc. off the hands of food companies. And then, they distribute these food supplies to communities in need. This way, more people are fed and none of these foods end up in dumping sites.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, healthcare workers were already experiencing problems with the lack of proper equipment to do their jobs. Students and teachers in underserved communities were already struggling with limited learning resources to keep up with schools in more affluent communities. Women and the environment were already struggling with the lack of support from people. But, fortunately, there is no shortage of nonprofit organizations that are ready to respond to whatever crisis our world faces.