In addition to posing public health challenges, the coronavirus outbreak has prompted mass closures of schools and businesses and is straining resources for local communities. Here’s how our local community members are helping their peers.
Brian Larsen, Founder and CEO of RestoraPet Inc., a Maryland-based business that manufactures supplements for pets, will be producing 10,000 or more 2-ounce hand sanitizers, and more if required in light of the shortage and demand.
“I realized that I had an opportunity to make a difference. RestoraPet has the capabilities to produce large quantities of any liquid product and we have the ability to produce to WHO and CDC standards, so it was a perfect fit,” he says. “I’m continually amazed by the talent, resilience, and ingenuity of our society. Some people are breaking out their sewing machines (and in many cases, decades-old skills) to make face masks. Some are calling to check up on their elderly neighbors, and still, others are heroes simply for staying home and flattening the curve.”
In Mount Vernon, Hotel Revival is handing out free produce donated by Coastal Sunbelt Produce and Hungry Harvest, as well as bagged lunches provided by the hotel’s rooftop restaurant Topside. Hotel Revival will be doing another lunch/produce distribution this Saturday from Noon-2 p.m. They are encouraging the community to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) for the product to help reduce the impact on the environment. This is Hotel Revival’s fifth lunch/produce giveaway in four weeks.
A few months ago, Dave Seel, the owner of Blue Fork Marketing, a marketing and consulting firm for restaurants and small businesses, was also sharing the good news about the newest ventures around the city. After the coronavirus pandemic spread through our state, Seel started the Facebook group Baltimore Restaurant Relief.
Now, The Baltimore Restaurant Relief Group is a resource for industry workers, operators, and owners to get answers, ask questions, and have a sense of community during this time. Now, they are expanding on this resource by introducing And, specifically devoted to rebuilding the Baltimore restaurant and hospitality industry. In addition, they have partnered up with Atlas Restaurant Group to host their weekly food drop for Baltimore restaurant industry workers, among other efforts.
Within a month, it had more than 3,000 members. And Seel has turned the page into a nonprofit as he sets out to help the area’s hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit by COVID-19-related closures.
“BIG NEWS for BRRF…We are officially a 501c3 Tax-Exempt Organization! Thank you for all of your support! We are incredibly thankful for all of your generosity. We are making a lot of headway towards our first $10,000 goal when we will begin the process of distributing funds to Baltimore area workers. Our team is actively working on this application process and our goal is to be as transparent as possible with that process once it is set up,” the official Facebook page reads.
How can you help?
Write a letter: Seniors in assisted living and nursing homes need us more than ever, Maria Darby, executive vice president of Keswick in Baltimore, wrote in an appeal on her Facebook page this week. They can’t have visitors, but they can receive drawings, letters and pictures of all kinds, she says.
Kids can send their kind messages to Keswick Residents, c/o Maria Darby, Keswick, 700 W. 40th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211. “This will mean a lot to our Keswick Family,” she writes.
Make a mask
Domesticity Fabric Shop & Sewing Studio in Lauraville is providing masks to frontline workers. Currently they are working on masks for health care personnel at Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center and University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. But staff and volunteers also plan to make masks for grocery store clerks, police officers, emergency personnel, delivery workers and others who find it difficult to socially distance in their work right now.
So far, the shop and its crew have created more than 6,300 masks, says owner Christina Brunyate. And more help is much appreciated, she adds. Volunteers can help out in multiple ways. First, make a mask.
Visit the store’s website to sign up and find patterns. The ever-helpful Brunyate has fabric on the back porch that sewers can pick up as well.
Not a crafter? No worries. Go to their website and make a donation to the effort.
Looking for more ways to help? Here are some more causes to support.
American Red Cross: Blood drives are canceled, and that means the American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage. Healthy individuals who wish to donate can make an appointment here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to search for a local donation site.
Meals on Wheels: This organization personally delivers nutritious meals to the country’s most vulnerable seniors. Donations will help replenish food supplies, provide transportation and volunteers and enable tech-based efforts to check in on isolated elderly recipients. Contact your local provider or donate to the national organization here.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is currently raising funds to provide groceries to kids participating in its more than 2,500 clubs, plus virtual academic support, from digital activities and other learning opportunities. Learn more about donating here.
The CDC Foundation supports the health protection work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Join the fight in raising emergency response funds to enable the CDC to respond to COVID-19. Learn more here.