If President Trump’s prime-time address to the nation on Wednesday night made anything clear, it’s this: the federal response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus has been utterly inadequate, and in order to make it through this we’re going to have to pitch in and help one another out. 

Musicians and artists who rely on gigs need your help. So do service workers, whose shifts are being pared down as restaurants lose business. The elderly and immune-compromised who can’t leave the house need help shopping for groceries. And with schools being shut down, kids need access to meals. And that’s just the shortlist of people being thrust into vulnerable situations. 

Here are some opportunities to pitch in. This list will be updated on a rolling basis. 

If you want to donate food

  • TABLE is continuing operations, with plans to deliver to a bag of fresh food and non-perishables to 727 kids a week. It’s also taking rigorous cautionary health measures; you can read their full volunteer instructions list here, along with avenues to contribute. With limited access to food, the need is especially great. 
  • You can find a downloadable list of local food pantries here (it’s a long list!). 
  • The Glass Jug Beer Lab in Durham is running a food drive. Donations accepted include food, cleaning supplies (for the Durham Rescue Mission, which is currently at capacity), and cash donations for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Donations will be accepted through Sunday, March 22. 
  • Speaking of which, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina has a guide to its needs and disaster response here

If you want to donate to rapid response funds

If you want to help support students affected by school closings 

  • The Durham Public School Foundation is accepting donations and coordinating with local youth non-profits. It is also coordinating volunteer meal deliveries (make sure to wash your hands) to school families facing economic hardship as a result of the virus. 
  • On March 27, Governor Roy Cooper announced a new texting initiative for parents seeking food assistance: by texting FOODNC to 877-877 or COMIDA to 877-877 parents can locate the nearest free meal site. 

If you want to help support service workers 

  • With many restaurants shutting down—or at the least, bringing in a smaller customer base—service workers are being thrust into a precarious position. Nick Stroud, owner of The Baxter Bar and Arcade and Belltree in Chapel Hill, created the GoFundMe Creating Social Distance: Service Industry Workers. For every $10,000 raised, the organization will donate $100 to 100 service workers who can verify their employment. If fundraising efforts don’t hit $10,000, proceeds will be donated to TABLE. (Win-Win.)
  • The Frankie Lemmon Foundation is behind the Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, which is available to “those who have experience wage disruption or lay offs in the Triangle restaurant industry due to coronavirus-based restaurant closures.”
  • The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association has launched a state-wide relief fund that provides “fast access to cash grants for North Carolina restaurant and hotel workers.” Want to leave a virtual tip for a bartender? You can do that here. Want to apply for relief? You can apply in English here and Spanish here

If you want to help support artists

  • NorthStar Church of the Arts launched a Durham Artist Relief Fund that goes to the artists—musicians, visual artists, dancers, filmmakers, and actors, etc.—who rely on gigs and teaching work to sustain themselves. Priority is given to “BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists.” You can apply here for the relief fund here and help support the fund here
  • The NC Artist Relief Fund is organized by VAE Raleigh, Artspace, Pinecone, and the United Arts Council. You can apply for it here
  • If you would like to support artists in Orange County, the Orange County Arts Commission launched the Orange County Arts Support Fund, which you can donate or apply to here

General community outreach

  • The Community Empowerment Fund has a long community history of serving vulnerable populations who are “seeking employment, housing, and financial freedom.” Now is as good a time as ever to help sustain their work. 

Contact deputy arts and culture editor Sarah Edwards at sedwards@indyweek.com. 

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