Love and Donating in the Time of Coronavirus

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"Right now information is changing day by day, even by the hour," Tim Smith wrote to his 4,000+ followers on his Facebook page on March 14, three days after the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. "We have more questions than answers, and we believe no matter the question, LOVE is the answer." The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist and head of coastal luxury Orange County specialists Smith Group in Newport Beach encouraged his followers "to reflect on what really matters" before listing a number of ways people could help out their local community, including donating to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and No Kid Hungry. "Reflect on what really matters," he continued, "Recalibrate the trajectory of your future to be one of constant IMPACT—to touch every life you can, and leave people sublimely better than you found them." In Denver, another Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist, Laura Levy has organized a special COVID-19 response funding drive for her community along with her colleague Emily Jenkins Dusel. To date, the pair has raised nearly $16,000 — just $4,000 shy of their $20,000 goal — to help provide meals and services to the most vulnerable in Lyons, Colorado (which is about 37 miles outside of Denver). "LEAF offers a human services safety net to people in need in the Greater Lyons area," Levy wrote. "You may remember that Emily was one of the founders of LEAF and its first Executive Director. She feels this type of donation is the best thing we can do right now." Meals on Wheels clients will continue to receive meals. LEAF will also provide "5 shelf-stable meals + snacks" kits to all clients for use in the event of illness and quarantine, or if the meal supply from Longmont Meals on Wheels is temporarily disrupted, said Levy. These meal kits cost $10. She added: "During this time of 'social distancing,' it can be even more difficult for our vulnerable community to get food, supplies and support. [In] times of crisis, we rely on our responders and non-profits greatly." There are more of these types of stories across the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury network, and the world. Many other luxury brands are stepping up. LVMH, owner of Dior and Louis Vuitton, announced that it is going to start manufacturing disinfectant gel in its French makeup and fragrance facilities, which will be donated to the French health authorities and the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris. Bulgari also followed suit with its own hand sanitizer to donate to Italian authorities. Neiman Marcus recently joined forced with Joann fabrics to donate their employees’ time and materials to make nonsurgical masks, gowns and scrubs. Major fashion brands are also doing their part. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is reportedly obtaining 40 million medical-grade face masks from a Chinese industrial supplier to distribute to French health authorities, while Prada also said that it’s producing a run of 80,000 overalls and 110,000 face masks at one of its factories for Italian medical personnel. The Four Seasons hotel in midtown New York City has offered to house medical personnel, free of charge. And two yacht builders, Azimut-Benetti, the Ferretti Group and Groupe Beneteau, are also supporting coronavirus efforts by donating thousands of protective masks, protective clothing and alcoholic gel to local hospitals in Italy, France and Poland. If you want to know of ways to help those who are most affected by the virus, here a few options for making a difference. Even the smallest contribution helps right now. We're all in this together.

1. Pre-purchase from your favorite local businesses

Many shops, restaurants and bars are operating with truncated hours or closing to the public entirely, putting a severe financial strain on small businesses. If your local haunt has temporarily shuttered, see if they have an online retail presence where you can purchase the same or similar goods. Independent retailers like booksellers and clothing stores may have an online store. Wineries who have had to close their doors are another good example of businesses that may have an online shop, providing your state permits shipment of alcohol. You can also buy gift cards for your favorite restaurants and order take-out if that option remains available. (For delivery, consider tipping a little extra). Boutique or family-run hotels are obviously some of the hardest-hit businesses too — so rather than canceling your travel plans completely, consider postponing your trip instead. Another way you can help this effort is by sharing your efforts on social media using the hashtag #prebuylocal — to encourage others to do the same.

2. Contribute to the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund

The CDC Foundation is raising funds to meet the fast-emerging needs identified by CDC to help respond to the public health threat posed COVID-19. Funds raised will go towards additional support for state and local health departments, support for the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more. You can opt to donate one time or monthly directly online.

3. Help Meals on Wheels deliver to stay-at-home seniors

Since senior citizens are a high-risk population when it comes to the COVID-19 virus and are staying home to avoid social interactions, you can help them by donating to the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund was set up to help local communities across the country meet the increased demand for nutritious meals that can keep our seniors safe and healthy.

4. Donate blood to American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is in need for healthy blood donors right now. It's easy to make an appointment right online.

5. Support domestic workers

Another group that has been impacted by COVID-19 are domestic workers like nannies, housecleaners, and homecare workers. Many of these workers don’t have paid sick days and, may not be able afford to miss a day’s pay.  Paid sick days for domestic workers may also help in the efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus. You can help by donating to the Coronavirus Care Fund for the National Domestic Works Alliance.

6. Donate to GoFundMe's general relief fund 

When you donate to this general relief fund, you will be directly supporting individuals affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the organizations working to keep people safe, find a cure, or support their communities. Funds raised on this campaign are managed by GoFundMe.Org, which selects and then distributes donations to verified GoFundMe campaigns and aid to organizations that help those affected.

7. Contribute to the WHO's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

If you want to contribute to the global effort to fight the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has its own fund — the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Your donation will go towards funding the activities of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which includes everything from tracking and understanding the spread of the virus to buying and shipping essential medical supplies as well as accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests and treatments. To donate directly, visit www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.  

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