RICHMOND, Va. -- As the COVID-19 spreads across Central Virginia, communities are coming together to support those most affected by the pandemic. If you're in the Richmond area and looking for ways to give back to others, here are a few options.
1. Quayle Agurs runs the nonprofit "Secure The Student," which purchases and delivers groceries to college students.
“So far we have have served 5 universities and community colleges in the greater Richmond area,” Agurs said.
Anyone can donate at www.securethestudent.org to help them assist more students. Agurs said that a recent donation from Food Lion helped them purchase fresh foods for students.
“The students would usually go to their pantry on campus, but they’re now closed. We give them fresh fruits and vegetables and that has been a big hit with them,” she said. “We had one student who shared that before we delivered groceries to her, she was only eating bread."
2. Richmond business Holland Chiropractic is organizing a drive-through food collection in their Patterson Avenue parking lot at the Tuckahoe Village Shopping Center on April 1. They need help collecting canned goods/non-perishables to donate to local food pantries. Dr. Jim Holland said they’re working hard behind the scenes to make it a success.
“We’ve been called to serve. This has shown that everybody comes together in a time of need. So, we decided to do something. We got together with my wife’s friends and the next thing you know, calls were being mad and it turned into this big event.”
His wife Nicole said that donors who come through the drive-in collection site Wednesday won’t have to get out of their cars. Volunteers will be equipped with gloves and masks and will be ready to collect donations in a safe manner.
The recipients of Wednesday’s drive through collection at Holland Chiropractic include Up RVA, Goochland Cares, and Henrico County Family and Community Engagement. Items needed include canned meats, soups, canned fruits and veggies, peanut butter, canned milk, and paper or plastic bags. Flip top cans are especially helpful for younger recipients.
3. Caritas, an organization fighting homelessness and addiction in Richmond, is accepting financial donations on it’s website at www.caritasva.org. Funds will be used to assist front line Caritas workers pulling long hours in shelters.
Items they can use include masks, thermometers and grocery store gift cards.
Anyone interested in helping out can monitor the Caritas website for more information on donating meals in the coming days.
People are also encouraged to share the Crisis Hotline if they encounter someone who is facing homelessness at 804-972-0813.
Donors who want to drop off items to Caritas are able to do so by showing up to 700 Dinwiddie Avenue and leaving items at a no-contact drop off located at The Healing Place near the mailbox in the parking lot. Gift cards can also be mailed to Caritas at P.O. Box 25790, Richmond, VA 23260.
4. Music School the "Music Tree" is offering free online music classes for parents looking to keep their toddlers busy.
Each Wednesday at 10am, toddler moms can join online and sign up for free.
“For a half hour each Wednesday just come to our website, log in, join and go into the free lesson. We thought about what we could do to provide help to the community. We wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for this community. It’s the least we can do to give back. We will continue and if we have to add more days and times to help families, we will,” Hargis said.
Hargis said that that his music school has lost business due to COVID-19, which is why they're also taking donations to assist instructors who are still providing online music courses.
5. Local churches are also accepting help, like St. Paul’s Baptist in Eastern Henrico. Organizers there are planning a diaper drive in the coming days.
6. The COVID ASSIST text line is still seeking volunteers to help run errands for seniors and those at high risk. Potential volunteers should text the word COVIDVOLUNTEER to 855-410-140 to get registered in their area as a volunteer.