It's time like these that many folks are looking to help but unsure where to start. Luckily for Columbus, the Point App is here to help.
The Columbus-based Point App is a tool that both volunteers and nonprofits can use to connect and work together on projects. It's easy-to-use interface makes signing up as a volunteer a breeze, and with its connections throughout Central Ohio, many nonprofits are utilizing the app; especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We see the needs of nonprofits skyrocketing," said Madison Mikhail Bush, founder of the Point App.
The Human Service Chamber and The United Way gathered data to show what nonprofits are facing during the outbreak. The reported stats found that 24% of responding agencies have reported layoffs of employees, 41% of nonprofits are reporting financial losses of 10%, and 66% of nonprofits have canceled or postponed major fund raising events.
"Nonprofits rely on those events to function," Mikhail Bush said. "It's going to be very important that we meet the needs of nonprofits swiftly and efficiently. So when they post those needs on Point, it's because they really do need people to respond to them."
If you are healthy and able, consider donating your time, resources, or finances to one of the many nonprofits in Columbus. Point recently added a donate feature where users can donate money, rather than time, to promote social distancing. And if you are unsure if you are able to help, Point designed this handy flowchart to see if you are considered "low risk."
And to help you out, we put together five different ways you can get involved. As always, remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and keep a six foot distance between you and another person—even while volunteering.
1.) Drop Off Supplies For Family Care Kits to South Side Early Learning | All day | Wednesday to Friday
These supplies can include non-perishable food items, educational items, diapers, and cleaning supplies.
2.) Produce Give-A-Way with the Hilltop YMCA | 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. | Wednesday | *27 spots available
At the Hilltop YMCA, volunteers are needed for tasks such as sorting and bagging produce items, directing traffic, and assisting with clean up.
3.) Packing Food for Homebound Deliveries with the Worthington Resource Pantry | 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. | Thursday | *Only two spots available
Many folks during this shelter-in-place are unable to leave their homes. Here, you can help out by packing food to distribute to families in Worthington and North Columbus.
4.) Delivering Groceries to Homebound Families with the Worthington Resource Pantry | 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. | Thursday | *Only one spot left
If the 1 p.m. start time on Thursday doesn't fit your schedule, they will be delivering the groceries starting at 2 p.m.
5.) Donate For COVID-19 Relief For New Americans with Riverview International Center | Ends April 30
In addition to financial gifts to provide gift cards to affected new Americans in Columbus, you can donate working laptops and tablets, art supplies, and educational supplies.
The people of Columbus are always finding ways to up their game when it comes to giving back. We’re a city that’s continually building a virtuous cycle: a non-profit with a new idea solves a problem; a business builds the concept of social responsibility into its mission; a neighborhood bands together to accomplish a task—and then others are inspired by these efforts. The question here, to paraphrase JFK, is not what Columbus can do for you, but what you can do for Columbus.
On second thought, maybe those aren’t the right questions. A city, afterall, is nothing but buildings without the people who live there. The question, then, is what can we do for each other? And during times like this, we’re finding out.
Following Fred Rogers’ advice to “look for the helpers,” we’ve been keeping our eyes out over the past weeks to see how the community is adapting. It turns out that even when we’re required by law to socially distance ourselves, the community is still there—maybe standing six feet away—but never far enough to forget what it means to be part of something larger. Here are just a few of the many awesome resources and examples of doing good that caught our eye. Remember, though, things are changing rapidly, so please reach out and confirm efforts are still underway before showing up to help!
One of the greatest concerns that came when Gov. DeWine closed schools was for the kids across the state who rely on daily free breakfast and lunch, including the 50,000 students in Columbus City Schools. Luckily, the school district continues to provide free breakfast and lunch to any child under the age of 18 who needs it—even those not enrolled in CCS—at 15 “grab and go” sites across the city. The Mid Ohio Foodbank and the Parks and Recreation department even teamed up with the schools one morning to offer free, pre-bagged produce at a Grab and Go site in addition to the meal. A list of the Grab and Go sites is available at ccsoh.us/Page/7560.
Kids, of course, aren’t the only ones who need to eat. The Clintonville Beechwold Community Resources Center has partnered with the Clinton Heights Lutheran Church for a sack lunch drive offering food to all ages. The CRC has also assembled and distributed “necessity boxes” for older adults in Central Ohio. The CRC plans to keep giving, and is requesting monetary donations to support its work at this time. Visit clintonvillecrc.org/updated-crc-services-for-covid19 to learn more.
COhatch has proven to be more than just a coworking space during this crisis. It partnered with Vaso and the Point App to make and deliver meals to those in need across the city. Reach out for help if you are in need of food or supplies to [email protected]; or contact [email protected] to support their efforts.
Make-A-Day is seeking funding to send food trucks to low-income areas of Columbus in order to feed the homeless, children home from school, and other residents. Support their mission with a donation at makeaday.fun.
Gear and supplies
A key ingredient in the hand sanitizer that you can’t find anywhere on shelves these days is good ol’ ethyl alcohol. Luckily, some local businesses including Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery have an abundance. They are making hand sanitizer to provide first responders, hospitals, and homeless shelters. The Columbus Foundation purchased the first $50,000 worth of product from Middle West, according to a report from The Dispatch.
Meanwhile, Bespoke Salon Studio is collecting PPE to donate to area hospitals while the salon is closed. Send them a message on instagram at @bespoke_salon_studio_columbus to donate.
The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is collecting donations of coffee for first responders, because, let’s face it, they’re going to need it in the coming weeks. The community can help in two ways: by purchasing $9 healthcare worker bags that the shop will give to first responders, or buy a bag of any coffee for yourself and they’ll donate another bag to a healthcare professional. You can also leave notes of encouragement on the bag. Grab your joe and help a hero at 300 E Long St.
Now that we're all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we could use some entertainment beyond hours of Netflix bingeing. And yes, Carole probably did it*
WOSU Public Media has come to the rescue by putting together a list of local, virtual experiences to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your bunker. Here's a list of just a few upcoming events ranging from music to the arts.
Columbus Goes Live – The Cyber Festival – A virtual entertainment experience streaming across different pages to support local performers who are directly impacted by the critical shutdowns of venues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join in and make history by supporting your favorite bands, comedians and performers in the Columbus area.
Brewdog is even getting in on the act with its upcoming, Brewdog Online Bar. They plan to "open" for business at 6pm on Friday, March 27th. The bar plans to feature live beer tastings with our co-founders James and Martin and other beer experts, homebrew masterclasses, live music & comedy and more.
Brewdog will be sharing further details soon and a complete schedule of the events on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.