This article originally appeared in the College of Social Work interACTION Blog.
Social Work is a profession built around caring for and serving others. In a time when one of the most critical ways to care for each other is to distance ourselves, many of the College of Social Work students and colleagues are finding themselves with a hole in their hearts. When so many in our communities are feeling isolated, stressed and afraid, social workers are on the lookout for ways to help.
- Give translation services: If you are multilingual, you can help Salt Lake City’s refugee and immigrant communities by translating information and resources. To volunteer, contact University Neighborhood Partners’ Paul Kuttner and be sure to include the language(s) that you can translate as well as your availability (days/times).
- Give mentorship: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah (BBBSU) has nearly 100 great kids waiting to be matched with a “big.” If you can make a minimum 12-month commitment, you can apply, interview, train and get matched—all online. Until it’s safe to mentor your new “little” in-person, BBBSU has lots of great ideas for how to connect remotely.
- Give a delivery: Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid will provide safety training and connections so you can volunteer to drop off food and supplies at the front doors of vulnerable people who are self-quarantining.
- Give encouragement: Write a thank you note (help from artistic kids encouraged) and share your appreciation for our health care workers and others providing essential services. Share your note as a public post on your social media and tag your favorite providers or clinics so they may read it from a safe distance.
- Give blood: Your blood is free to you and very valuable to those in need. All blood types are helpful, but types O+, O- and AB- are especially in demand. Made an appointment with ARUP Blood Services (sole provider for University of Utah hospitals and clinics) or the American Red Cross and help save a life.
- Give food: The Utah Food Bank supports children, adults and families across the state, including through the Feed U Pantry at the U. Nonperishable foods and monetary donations will be put to good use as food insecurity rises during these uncertain times. Check their website for drop-off locations, including some grocery stores.
- Give good hygiene: Do you have a stash of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer or tissues? The Salt Lake Education Foundation will accept them to make emergency hygiene kits. Drop off your donations at any of three Salt Lake City Community Learning Centers.
- Give clothing and household goods: If your self-isolation includes some spring cleaning, donate gently used clothing, books, small appliances and much more to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. Your donated clothing and items will be sold and used to help fund their statewide mentoring programs. Visit their website to find your nearest donation center or drop-off bin.
If you are in a position to do so, it is a great time to give a gift of any amount to your favorite nonprofit.
- Give crisis care: Your donation to University of Utah Health will support efforts related to COVID-19 response and crisis care.
- Give PPE: Employees of the University of Utah’s libraries have all 30 of their 3-D printers working to crank out medical-grade protective face shields. Your gift will help them make even more.
- Give support: A donation to the University of Utah’s Emergency Student Support Fund will help U students who find themselves in a tough spot due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Give culture: The closure of the University of Utah’s museums and performance venues is having an immediate impact on employees and will have a long-term impact on future programming. Your gift will help support these cultural staples.
Since the circumstances and our community responses to this public health crisis are quickly evolving, the status of these opportunities is likely to change. Please check directly with individual organizations for the latest.
Morgan Aguilarcommunications specialist, University of Utah Communications