Now more than ever, it is important to make sure that the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community are met. This can include things like volunteering to take groceries to people unable to leave their homes, and engaging in video visits with older adults who are facing increased isolation due to the current precautions.
Here are a few organizations you may want to consider volunteering with
- The State of Michigan is looking for public health volunteers to help with contact tracing. They have a form you can fill out indicating your interest, background, and availability here.
- Washtenaw County Health Department Medical Reserve Corps is a registry where people (both with and without medical training) can register their skills and willingness to volunteer in an merengency. Members of the registry can be contacted by the health department or other organizations responding to health emergencies when there is a way that they can volunteer and help.
- Jewish Family Services offers several programs including a food pantry, well-being phonecalls to older adults, and food delivery. Fully remote volunteer opportunities are available. Volunteers can help to keep current programs running smoothly, and help with expanding programs to meet current COVID-19 related needs. There are no religious requirements for volunteering or for receiving services - all are welcome.
- SOS Community Services offers a variety of services to individuals and families, including a food pantry, housing assistance, and connections to other community resources. They have indicated that additional volunteers would be very helpful right now.
- Meals on Wheels of Ann Arbor provides meal delivery and other services to people in the Ann Arbor area. Volunteers must submit an application and then attend a volunteer orientation. Upcoming orientation dates are Wednesday, March 25 from 10:00-11:00am, Saturday, April 11 from 9:00-10:00am, and Wednesday, April 22 from 10:00-11:00am.
- Food Gatherers plays an important role in the collection and distribution of food donations in the community. Volunteers are currently needed for the Community Kitchen. You can sign up on the website, and then register for available shifts.
- Community Action Network operates several programs, including a food pantry. They could use help with making packaged meals for clients and kids. They could also use donations of to-go containers (to assist with sending clients home with more food), sanitation and hygiene products, feminine hygiene items, and diapers.
Other ways to help
- If you are healthy, you can donate blood. There is currently a blood shortage due to a decline in donors. You can sign up for a blood donation appointment at https://redcross.org
- Many people who need to stay home right now are ordering delivery groceries with services such as Instacart and Shipt. These services are experiencing extremely high demand, which can lead to people waiting multiple days for groceries. By signing up to be a grocery deliverer for one of these services, you can help your community and also make a little extra money.
If you need help
- If you are a graduate student experiencing a financial emergency, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Funds or a CEW+ Emergency Grant
- If you think you may be ill with COVID-19, please refer to this information from the Washtenaw County Health Department
- University Counseling and Psychology Services is still open and offering services to students in the Ann Arbor area. If you are no longer in the Ann Arbor area, there are several services such as ThriveWorks and MDLive offering online counseling, and many health insurance providers are covering online counseling during the COVID-19 situation. Please contact your health insurance provider to confirm coverage details.
- If you need someone to talk to, crisis phonelines are available to take calls from people experiencing severe emotional distress (you do not have to be suicidal to call). Options include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (they also offer services via chat) and the National Grad Crisis line at 1-877-GRAD-HLP (1-877-472-3457) where counselors have received additional training specific to the mental health needs of graduate students