Parisian Living

COVID-19 Relief: How You, Too, Can Help

by Surekha Gupta

As important as staying home is in the fight against Covid-19, many of us would like to help out in other ways too. Though lockdowns are gradually being lifted, we are likely still in the early days of an ongoing crisis. In the weeks and months to come, many of us and our neighbors will need help in countless ways. Here are some ideas for how you can lend a hand – whether by giving time, money, or other forms of support. 

Left: Black graffiti of a face mask with the phrase "COVID-19" on a white wall, Right: The sun sets over rooftops in Parisian apartments, orange light is cast into the sky
Top: Connor Houtman / Above: Adam Niescioruk / Aurelien Lemasson Theobald

Volunteer 

  • Shop or run other errands for vulnerable neighbors and overworked frontline workers, and arrange contact-free delivery/pick-up. In France, En Première Ligne aims to provide frontline workers and vulnerable individuals with support in daily tasks (babysitting, grocery shopping, etc). Contact them to volunteer or if you need help. Le Bon Coin has begun the initiative #lebongeste in which you create an ad in the category “presentations de service ou cours particuliers” to offer help to those around you. This includes running errands, private lessons, walking pets, and homework assistance—as long as health recommendations are observed. 
Left: An advertisement from En Premiere Ligne reads, "Vous travaillez pendant le confinement? Nous pouvons vous aider," in english, "Are you working during the confinement? We can help you." Right: A man in a light gray t-shirt and glasses lays down while he donates blood, he smiles and gestures a thumbs-up at the camera
En Premiere Ligne / Give Blood – Etablissement Français du Sang
  • Donate Blood via your local blood bank or organizations such as the Red Cross (USA), NHS Blood Donation (UK), or the Etablissement Français du Sang (France).
  • Contact a senior center or nursing home in your area and let them know you would like to write letters to help the elderly avoid social isolation during this time. This initiative is great for kids to get involved in too.
  • Become a pet sitter or donate to a local organization arranging pet care for frontline workers, the vulnerable, and the ill. In France, Mon Bibou is a good resource.

Donate to Hospitals, Research, and Healthcare Workers 

  • Direct Relief – Provides personal protective equipment and other supplies to medical workers in the US and around the world. 
  • Save the Children – During the current pandemic, the organization is distributing hygiene supplies around the world to ensure communities can wash their hands. They are also providing vital health information on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of infection. 
Left: Two woman, both wearing elegant dresses, sit for a portrait and the woman on the right wears a face mask, Right: Block letters that resemble scrabble squares spell out the word "coronavirus"
Jamie Beck / Glen Carrie
  • UNICEF – Globally, UNICEF is providing much-needed medical supplies to health workers everywhere during this pandemic.
  • International Medical Corps – Along with the World Health Organization, the International Medical Corps is leveraging its relationships with local and national ministries of health throughout the world to provide expertise, equipment, training, triage, and treatment services.
  • WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund – This fund aims to help the World Health Organization track and understand the spread of the virus, ensure individuals get the care they need and frontline workers are equipped with essential supplies, and accelerate research and development of a vaccine and other medications for those in need. Donors in the US, Japan, Canada, and Europe can make a tax-deductible donation by giving through local partners. 
Left: In black ink, the phrase "COVID-19" is scribbled over and over again on a white piece of paper, Right: A person holds their hands cupped together under a running stream of water.
Marjanblan / Nathan Dumlao

Support Farmers/Help Feed the Hungry

  • Volunteer time or donate to your local food bank.
  • In France, Banque Alimentaire is accepting donations of food and money.
  • Donate time or funds to HIP Paris founder Erica Berman’s non-profit farm Veggies to Table. Veggies to Table grows organic produce to donate to their many community members living with hunger every day. Due to COVID-19, even more newly unemployed, homeless, and low-income Mainers need urgent assistance. Read more here, including how you can help – whether by volunteering or through donations.
Left: A pair of muddy boots next to two baskets of fresh produce picked from a garden, including kale and radishes, Right: Erica Berman, founder of both HiP Paris and Veggies to Table, hold 1100 seed packets she is about to donate to pantries so people can grow their own gardens.
Kale & Radishes / Erica donating 1100 seed packets to pantries so people can grow a garden

  • Meals on Wheels provides delicious home-cooked meals to seniors and those with disabilities. You can volunteer or donate and help their cause during this most difficult time.
  • Join a CSA. In Community Supported Agriculture, consumers buy “shares” (a membership or subscription) in return for receiving seasonal produce weekly throughout the farming season. Other farm products may be included. CSAs help farmers immensely as they receive payment early in the season, providing much-needed operating funds. Consumers get ultra-fresh food full of vitamins and nutrients, exposure to different types of produce, and often the farmer and consumer get to know one another personally, strengthening community ties. 
Left: A view of the bottom of Montmartre is visible under the blue and purple tones of dusk, bright orange light illuminates from the buildings and street in the middle of the photo, Right: Two pairs of chopsticks and bowls of Southeast-Asian food from The Hood in Paris sit on a wooden stool.
Aurelien Lemasson Theobald / Help restaurants – The Hood Paris

Help the Arts and Artists 

  • Donate to or buy/renew an annual membership or season tickets for your favorite performing arts groups, museums, and cultural organizations.
  • Buy works from local artisans to give as gifts.
  • Purchase merchandise from local actors and organizations.
  • Follow your favorite artists on social media.
Left: A watercolor of a room in Paris-- in the forefront of the painting is a bed and a tray of croissants, coffee and drinks. In the background is a window with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Right: A watercolor of a Parisian building, in front of it a blooming cherry blossom tree.
Parisian Postcards

  • Tune in to virtual events and donate to individual artists and performers directly or via platforms such as Patreon.
  • Reach out to individual artists and ask how you can support their work during this difficult time.
  • Don’t just stream music – buy it. With live performances canceled, there is little for musicians to fall back on. Streaming often brings little revenue, so if you are in a position to do so, purchasing records (digital or physical) helps artists out.
Left: A watercolor image of coffee and croissants on a table at the famous Café de Flore in Paris, Right: A watercolor image of a woman in a white dress looking at the paintings which line the Seine in the middle of Paris.
Parisian Postcards

What You Can Do for Independent Bookstores and Authors

  • Order books online from local independent bookstores.
  • Donate to the emergency fund set up by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (USA) to help independent booksellers. 
  • Most book tours have been canceled, so support authors by purchasing their books online.
Left: An image from the Tour d'Argent with a duck driving a car and waving with his left wing. The text reads, "Les canards de la tour livrés chez vous," in english, "The tower ducks deliver to your home." Right: The cover of The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris by Lindsey Tramuta
Tour d’Argent / The New Parisienne

Support Small Businesses

  • Help restaurants stay afloat by ordering takeout or gift certificates.
  • Buy gift cards and memberships now to give in the future as birthday gifts, holiday presents, etc.
  • Pay for long-standing appointments such as beauty treatments, massage, etc. in advance.
Left: A father, mother and daughter pose for a portrait while wearing blue facial masks amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Right: Three copies of David Lebovitz's new book, Drinking French, sit atop a wooden table.
Jamie Beck / David Lebovitz

Related Links

Written by Surekha Gupta for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Surekha Gupta

Surekha Gupta is an Amercian expat living in Paris since 2016. When not brushing up on her French, Surekha enjoys exploring Paris on foot. She loves living in Paris’ multicultural 10th Arrondissement, between the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, where the rest of Europe is on her doorstep. View Surekha Gupta's Website

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