44 Ways to ‘Be The Helper’ during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Ways to Help During COVID-19

Compiled by Derek Grosso and Maggie Humphrey

Television personality and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers, is often quoted in times of crisis, saying his mother responded to scary news by telling him to “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Over the past several days, countless local organizations and individuals have come together in the spirit of collaboration and humanity to be the helpers, including the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Can’t Stop Columbus, Experience Columbus and POINT, as well as Facebook Groups like Support Central Ohio Restaurants and Mutual Aid Central Ohio.

United Way of Central Ohio has activated its Community Response Fund, The Columbus Foundation has activated their Emergency Response Fund, Mid-Ohio Foodbank has created an emergency fund to acquire and distribute more food and supplies, Columbus City Council has set aside $1M in emergency support and COTA will not be charging fares for transit during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

State officials have also helped by exuding calm strength and leadership in this time of uncertainty. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has been in constant communication about COVID-19 every day, along with Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health who stresses the importance of hand washing via YouTube and is the inspiration behind a brand new tee by HOMAGE – with proceeds going to benefit Huckleberry House in Columbus.

The Columbus Young Professionals Club (of which CityPulse Columbus is an initiative) reached out to various community partners to find ways to help during the COVID-19 crisis we are all facing together. During this pandemic, we encourage you not only to look for the helpers, but BE the helpers (if you are able).

Please follow ALL CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines before committing to ANY of these projects:


Health-Related Questions

Ohio Department of Health

“The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is the administrative department of the Ohio state government responsible for coordinating activities for child and family health services, children with medical handicaps, early intervention services, nutrition services, and community health services; ensure the quality of both public health and health care delivery systems; and evaluates health status, prevents and controls injuries and diseases (chronic and infectious) and promotes good health.”

Ohio Department of Health call center is ready to answer your questions about COVID-19.
Staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day

How can you help? Stay informed; don’t spread misinformation to others.



Ways to Give

American Cancer Society

“The health of our patients, staff, and volunteers remains our top priority during these times. As we adjust our in-person events to allow for social distancing, we want to remind those in our community that there are many ways of supporting ACS virtually.”

How can you help? Please visit cancer.org to learn more about how you can get involved or contact Zach.Gerber@cancer.org.


American Red Cross

“Across Ohio, we have had 532 blood drives cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns, resulting in 15,506 uncollected blood donations. As the number of COVID-19 cases grow here in Ohio, we do expect that number to increase unfortunately. That’s why we are asking organizations to please keep their blood drives and for donors to continue to give. Together, we must ensure a readily available blood supply for patients who are counting on us.”

How can you help? The time to give blood is now. Please go to www.RedCrossBlood.org to make your donation appointment.


COhatch Delivers

“Today we launched COhatch Delivers. If you are in a high risk category and need to be make sure you stay fully isolated, we want to help you. If you are lonely or depressed or know someone who needs uplifted, we want to help. Here are things we can do: Do a much needed grocery run for you (and leave on your doorstep so we don’t have contact). Try to get you a supply that is in shortage unnecessarily (toilet paper, cleaning supply, etc.). Send a random act of kindness to someone you know who needs uplifted (a hot meal made by a volunteer, an encouraging letter from kids, balloons in the front yard). Set-up a call or Facetime with someone if you just need to talk, need some advice, or are just lonely.”

How can you help? Please call (614) 502-7000 or email help@cohatch.com if you need help or nominate someone to help at volunteer@cohatch.com.

(614) 502-7000

Columbus Early Learning Centers

“CELC has been committed to providing family services and child care services to the Columbus community since 1887.”

How can you help? We are in need of donations for families, including: diapers & pull-ups, wipes, formula, baby food, non-perishable food, dreft, clorox wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and cleaning supplies, and Kroger gift cards.

(614) 253-5525

CYP Club Cares

“CYP Club Cares is the volunteer & service arm of the Columbus Young Professionals (CYP) Club. We encourage you to get involved through fun service activities where you can meet new friends while making a difference.”

How can you help? We are organizing several virtual volunteer activities to support the community. Come join us!

Contact the CYP Club


“Ultimately, what might be helpful to know is that DSACO (Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio) has a dedicated Social Worker on the team, who will be assisting in managing requests alongside other DSACO program-focused team members. Our funds are currently authorizing up to $100 per family of an individual with Down syndrome to provide immediate financial relief through grocery gift cards and or direct delivery of health care items (including formula, diapers, hygiene-related items and specialized food items). With developing information coming in daily, we are learning that COVID-19 may also more dramatically impact individuals with Down syndrome, particularly those with co-occurring health conditions. Because half of all children born with Down syndrome are also born with congenital heart defects, it means that it is an absolute that at least half of the individuals we serve are at much higher risk.”

How can you help? Please rally around our recently-launched Financial Assistance Program fund for families who have loved ones with Down syndrome. Although the fund may not seem like a lot on the surface, we also have an existing partnership with The Columbus Foundation that affords us the ability to request greater funding for more significant needs, including rent, car payments, etc.


Freedom A La Carte

“Freedom a la Cart is seeking distribution and funding partners to provide sack lunches to feed our city’s most vulnerable.”

How can you help? Questions or interest in partnering? Reach out to order@freedomalacart.org.

(614) 992-3252

Harmony Project

“The heart of Harmony is strong, even in these challenging times. While all of Harmony’s rehearsals and programs are suspended until further notice, our mission remains focused: we believe in the power of community.”

How can you help? Harmony has received requests to assist in a number of ways, and asks that if you are seeking service opportunities, you may find one or more online at harmonyproject.com/helpcbus.

(614) 564-9300

Hope Hollow

“Hope Hollow is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides lodging, meals, transportation assistance and emotional support — at no cost — to cancer patients and their loved ones, who are financially in need, while coming to Columbus, Ohio for cancer treatment.”

How can you help? If you would like to support the cancer patients Hope Hollow serves in this difficult time of uncertainty and need, please make donations of money, grocery and/or restaurant gift cards or gasoline gift cards. Donate at hopehollow.com/donate or mail donations to Hope Hollow, P.O. Box 141423, Columbus, OH 43214.


I Know I Can

“We are reaching out individually to 2,500+ college students who are impacted by the closure of their colleges/universities to ensure they have access to housing, food and transportation. We are prioritizing students at colleges/universities who have closed the residence halls, and by doing so, we are determining there are several (thus far) that do have a housing need, and many are food insecure.”

How can you help? Donate Kroger, Giant Eagle, Meijer, or Walmart gift cards. We can also accept gift cards from restaurants with multiple locations such as Wendy’s, Donatos, McDonalds, etc.


Mid-Ohio Foodbank

“The Mid-Ohio Foodbank needs you to jump in and pack 10,000 emergency food boxes in the next couple weeks. We need healthy younger volunteers in small groups of 10 to get this done. These packs will be distributed to sites in 20 counties they serve.”

How can you help? Volunteer help will be needed in our Kitchen as we prepare more meals for children, especially over the coming weeks when schools are closed. And, additional financial support from the community will be required for the acquisition of more food. There is a great need of volunteers to help prepare pre-packaged boxes with dairy, protein, produce, bread and shelf-stable food for distribution to customer vehicles. Check POINT for the 30 opportunities to help out and to sign up. *Mid-Ohio Foodbank is taking measures to keep volunteering safe and foot traffic low.



“POINT gives you freedom to fit a little more good in your day and tap (literally) into the causes that matter most to you. No guilt trips, just a chance to stop scrolling and do something good in real life.”

How can you help? If you’re wondering how to do something good in this COVID19 outbreak – here’s your starting POINT. The team has been working with nonprofit partners to find ways you can help in Ohio and NOW you can donate on POINT too.


Small Biz Cares

“Now more than ever, families are struggling, especially with the current events around COVID-19. Through the end of April, Small Biz Cares is collecting food, hygiene products and other household essentials for Homeless Families Foundation and 411 Foundation.”

How can you help? To donate, you can buy items through Amazon Smile – you can buy online and ship directly to our office. Purchase and drop off supplies from the list at 111 Liberty St, Ste 101, Columbus, OH 43215. *Please schedule a drop-off time in advance.


South Side Early Learning

“Since 1922, the mission of South Side Early Learning has been to ensure every child benefits from a holistic, high-quality early education. We are passionately committed to lead the partnerships, best practices and performance that maximize a child’s first 2,000 days.”

How can you help? Life can be a struggle for the families we serve under everyday circumstances. Compound that with the unexpected dilemma of COVID-19 forcing families to face school and work closures and their everyday struggles become insurmountable. Just $5 could help fill a Care Kit that will provide our littles and their families with items from non-perishable food items, educational items, diapers, cleaning supplies, and other household goods. Donate at https://donorbox.org/ssel-care-kit.


The Columbus Foundation

“The Emergency Response Fund assists nonprofit organizations that are experiencing a loss of revenue and/or an increase in operating costs due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”

How can you help? Donate


United Way of Central Ohio

“In the wake of COVID-19, nonprofits in central Ohio serving residents in need are finding themselves under-resourced to serve a growing demand for critical services. In response to this, United Way of Central Ohio is launching the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support those nonprofits, individuals and families facing unanticipated needs for vital resources. Please see the attached overview for additional information on the fund.”

How can you help? Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are matching all donations to the Fund at 50% (example: a gift of $100 will be matched with an additional $50). Our match pool is over $300,000 and continues to grow.



“The emergency shelter and long-term supportive housing we offer at our Family Center and Women’s Residency Program is essential to ensuring the most vulnerable among us have a safe place to stay during this crisis. We need your help with donations of material goods so we can keep these programs running smoothly now and prepare for increased demand in the coming weeks.”

How can you help? You can arrange to drop off material donations by appointment only with our Volunteer and Donations Manager, Naomi Merino at nmerino@ywcacolumbus.org. You can also support the ongoing work of YWCA Columbus during this critical time by donating. Every donation of items and money helps us serve and support the women and families who need it most.



Support Local Restaurants, Coffeeshops, Bars & Breweries

Crimson Cup

“Crimson Cup stores will remain open with normal business hours. The Clintonville coffee shop offers both drive-thru and carry out options while our Upper Arlington shop will open for carry out orders only. Both shops are stocked with gift cards, ready to carry out with your coffee. If you add $50 onto a card you get a free drink! If you would prefer to stay home, you can find the Clintonville and Upper Arlington coffee shops on UberEats. Additionally, we are offering free shipping on all online orders. Home Brewing? Join us Monday, March 23rd, March 30th, and April 6th as we share instructional videos on how to brew coffee at home with the Chemex, V60, and Kalita Wave on Instagram TV and Facebook. Your health and wellness are our top priority and we are continuing to take extra precautions to make sure that all our customers and staff are safe. Thank you for continuing to support our coffee shops, every cup of coffee counts! Stay safe, stay caffeinated, and be kind to one another!”

How can you help? Shop local, buy gift cards, order coffee through UberEats.


Drink Up Columbus

“We’ve compiled a list of the limited carryout hours Central Ohio breweries are operating for six-pack and growler fill purchases. View the list on Drink Up Columbus.”

How can you help? Support central Ohio breweries amid closures.


Endeavor Brewing & Spirits

“A lot of the people in our community have reached out to see how they can help us during this time. Because of this, we have put together a couple things to help our staff and company. We will be opening Tuesday and Friday from 4-7pm and Saturday from 12-4pm to fill growlers and sell cans… Check out the amazing, freshly canned Icelandic Saga. During these hours we will have food trucks and a jar dedicated for our bartenders to do what we can to help our favorite people. If you are not able to leave your home, but would like to be here please let us know. We will do everything we can to help you out. We have opened a shop online that will allow you to buy gift cards for when we get to see you next. Keep an eye out for fun virtual things we are planning to keep our community strong and together.”

How can you help? Fill growlers and buy cans to go, tip our bartenders, and buy gift cards from our new online shop!


High Bank Distillery

“Check out our new to-go menu on our website.”

How can you help? Delivery via GrubHub, Postmates & online with Chow Now. People can still shop our retail at High Bank: Tuesday-Saturday from 12-8.


Press Pub on 5th

“Press Pub on 5th is a casual, neighborhood bar and restaurant in Grandview, OH.”

How can you help? We’re open for takeout and our kitchen serves all day, and ’til 10 pm. Call in your order at (614) 817-1198.

(614) 817-1198

Support Central Ohio Restaurants

“With the changes to carryout, delivery or drive through service only, the restaurants and bars in Central Ohio need your help. Group members suggest and vote, picking a couple of restaurants every week that need help, and setting dates for people to ‘cash mob’ that location with a carryout order, gift card purchase or delivery order.”

How can you help? Members can suggest and vote for local restaurants to support, and “cash mob” winning locations with a carryout order, gift card purchase or delivery order.


Support Columbus Eats

“With restaurants and bars temporarily shut down due to Coronavirus concerns, many people are struggling. This site is meant to be a resource for the citizens of this city to find local spots to order from and support.”

How can you help? Log on and check the most up-to-date details on more than 170 local restaurants


Yats Grandview

“Carryout and delivery are available until further notice so please call ahead (614) 486-9287 for a Yats Delivery driver or pickup at our curb.”

How can you help? Please visit our website or use the following links to place carryout orders as well as delivery orders through UberEats & Postmates. We will not be accepting cash until further notice. Carryout orders & payments can be made onsite, over the phone, or online.

(614) 486-9287

Zest Juice Co

“Free delivery with a $25 minimum and within 25 miles of Columbus.”

How can you help? You can call / text (614) 636-2410 to place a delivery order, order on the Zest Juice Co App (download it for free), order online from Easton’s Chow Now tab. Order before 8am for a 10am-12noon delivery. Order before 12noon for a 2-4pm delivery.

(614) 636-2410


Support Local Artists & Culture

Greater Columbus Arts Council

“The Greater Columbus Arts Council is committed to helping our artists and cultural organizations manage this unprecedented, world-wide crisis. We also understand that the arts can provide a critical connection point for all of us in times of deep fear and despair. This page will serve as a hub for virtual arts experiences for the people, artists and organizations of Columbus.”

How can you help? Columbus area cultural organizations and artists that have virtual, streaming or recorded experiences they would like us to add please email Nick Dekker at ndekker@gcac.org. Spread the word to others.



Job Openings


“We are navigating an unprecedented time in our history amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the Haystack core values is agility, which allows all of us at Haystack to pivot quickly when faced with monumental challenges. We are developing creative solutions and embracing the opportunities created by our ever changing environment.”

How can you help? If your situation is changing and you are job seeking (or know someone who is), check out these local job postings to learn more and apply.


Columbus Business First

“Central Ohio hospitals advertise scores of openings to hospitality workers impacted by coronavirus closures.”

How can you help? Spread the word / share this story with others.


Columbus Navigator

“Looking For Work? This Is Who’s Hiring Right Now Around Columbus.”

How can you help? Spread the word / share this story with others.



Insurance Questions

Branch Insurance

“A portion of all our client’s premiums go to fund SafetyNest which steps in if someone is uninsured or underinsured. We’re here to help if people can’t afford insurance after this.”

How can you help? Reach out if you are interested in learning more. Spread the word to others.



Banking & Finance Questions

Credit Union of Ohio

“As a new reality sets in around the world and in our state, now more than ever people need to have the highest level of confidence in their financial institution. Credit Union of Ohio, is fully committed to uninterrupted and convenient banking services, both in-person and online. We also continue to stand by our members and community through this crisis and will be working with individuals who have and will feel the financial brunt of this situation. The core conviction of credit unions is people helping people, which is what we have done for 53 years and will continue to do.”

How can you help? Reach out if you are in need of financial assistance and guidance. Spread the word to others.


Northwestern Mutual

“If anyone needs/wants to talk to a financial advisor during this difficult time we can certainly help. Please let us know if you need anything or if we can be of assistance in anyway.”

How can you help? Reach out if you are in need of financial assistance or guidance. Spread the word to others.



Apartment Living Questions

Preferred Living

“Preferred Living sites are open and we are offering shorter lease terms to OSU students, at specific properties, that might be affected by losing their campus housing, particularly international students who in a bind or are concerned.”

How can you help? Reach out if you are a student in need of apartment living assistance. Spread the word to others.



Education, Networking & Learning

Ashland University

“Making an investment in education might be the last thing on people’s minds right now, but there will be some that need to keep their minds active and would like to use this downtime to learn something new.”

How can you help? Consider online courses and learn something new.


AXIA Consulting

“Given the recent events around Coronavirus, many companies are moving projects from on-site to virtual. Managing a remote project is different than managing an on-site project. To help organizations be successful with the move to remote projects, AXIA has created two free webinars to better help your organizations stay on track and become the most effective virtual teams. Our consultants have years of experience in this area. There is a lot of uncertainty during this time period so anything we can do to support each other, the better.”

How can you help? Register to learn more (and spread the word) via free seminars:

Virtual Operations: Managing & Encouraging Remote Workers on Friday, March 20th 3:00 p.m. EST

How to Run Virtual Projects with Remote Workers (recorded webinar)

Register for the March 20 webinar
View the pre-recorded webinar

BBB of Central Ohio

“TrustLocal.org is a mobile platform that will be announced and delivered to consumers and businesses that enable them to go to the BBB to: 1. Become accredited, 2. Find local resources for businesses and consumers, 3. Provide feedback to us via a survey on their most critical need, and 4. connect with BBB via chat, call or email.”

How can you help? Find local resources and provide feedback via survey. Spread the word to others.


Connected Networking Group

“We are hosting virtual networking events to help keep our communities connected, supporting one another, and surviving this crisis together.”

How can you help? Join in and stay connected!



“At COSI, our team of science and education experts will be posting daily content for families, educators and lifelong learners in the form of videos, guided activities, lesson plans and more. We encourage you to check back with us daily to find new ways to teach, learn and discover science.”

How can you help? If you’re looking for activities to do at home, check out COSI Connects.


Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University

“Fisher’s Graduate Programs Office (GPO) continues to be available to assist you and answer questions. However, in accordance with The Ohio State University’s measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have shifted communications and events online. We’re still processing applications and conducting normal business, but response times may be slightly delayed during this time. Direct email, phone, and online communication are the preferred methods until further notice. All current COVID-19 information and resources can found at University Info and Fisher Info.”

How can you help? Continue your business education. For an application fee waiver please use the code: OSUCYP20



Mass Transit


“COTA is strongly encouraging social distancing on all COTA buses. Use the provided hand sanitizer. Increased cleaning and disinfecting are continuing in shelters and buses.”

How can you help? COTA is temporarily suspending fare collection for all trips. Beginning Thursday, March 19 all COTA transit rides will be no fare. All customers are asked to enter and exit through the rear doors to encourage social distancing and to keep you safe. Spread the word to others.



Collaborative Efforts

Can’t Stop Cbus

“We are a group of community leaders, business owners, developers and helpful citizens pooling together our knowledge, time and resources to create real solutions to problems our community is facing during these trying times.”

How can you help? Join the Slack channel and get involved.


Experience Columbus’s COVID-19 Tool Kit

“Here you will find information such as resources for community business, signage templates, telecommuting resources, public health resources, and updates from Experience Columbus.”

How can you help? Spread the word about these accessible resources.

COVID-19 Partner Tool Kit




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