Looking for ways to give back to the community during these strange times? We're rounding up a list of all of the ways Houstonians can help out during the COVID-19 crisis. 

This list is ongoing. Have a volunteer/donation opportunity you think we should know about? Please email Catherine Wendlandt at [email protected] 

Wesley Community Center

The senior services center has closed programs through April 30, but is keeping its food pantry open as a drive-up service. The center is looking for volunteers to help with food distribution. Sign up here

Target Hunger

Target Hunger is looking for volunteers to help out with food packing and distribution. Volunteers are needed on the following dates: April 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. Sign up here, or call 346-335-8077, or email [email protected] 

Thrive Pro Bono: Making Cards for Healthcare Workers

Thrive Pro Bono, a local non-profit here in Houston, is holding a card-making drive April 10–12. Make a homemade card thanking healthcare workers for all of their hard work during this crisis, and Thrive Pro Bono will deliver the cards to the workers, along with a free meal from a local restaurant. Mail your cards to Thrive Pro Bono – c/o Daniela Torres Marco, 1919 Huldy St. Houston, Texas 77019. Learn more here. To donate money for meals, click here

Harbor Hospice Needs Companionship Callers

Help out virtually: Harbor Hospice, which has eight locations in Houston, needs volunteers to make phone calls to check in on elderly patients who cannot see their families right now. Find out more here. All volunteers will still have to go through the background check and drug screening process.  

Bucket Listers: Send a Meal to Healthcare Workers

Bucket Listers, a website that curates travel information across the world, has launched a fundraiser in Houston to donate meals to local healthcare workers. For every $1000 raised, they will arrange a food delivery from a local restaurant to a local hospital. Donate here

Local Impact Food & Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Fund

NextSeed and ImpactHub have partnered together to support Houston's restaurant and healthcare workers. When you donate money, they'll order food from a local business and donate it to medical professionals and volunteers on the front lines of COVID-19. Learn more and donate here

Star of Hope Mission 

The organization, which supports Houston's homeless community, needs donations. Some of the items they need right now are toothpaste, hairbrushes, regular/large lotion, men's shower shoes, and new men's underwear. Find a location to drop off donations here

Kendra Scott 

Who knew you could help out by shopping? While all Kendra Scott stores might be closed, the Texas-based jewelry brand is donating 50% of all its online proceeds from the Kendra Scott ‘Shop for Good’ Everlyne Bracelets to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center

The grocery stores' shelves are running low, and so are the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center's. They've put out a call for donors with O+ and O- blood types. Find a location to donate blood here

West Houston Assistance Ministries 

WHAM needs healthy volunteers to help distribute food boxes to in-need families. Additionally, the organization is asking for food donations; drop them off at their food pantry—10501 Meadowglen Ln—10 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday–Friday. Some of the requested food items include rice, peanut butter, mac and cheese, boxed juices, and medium sized boxes (to pack these things for handout). If you want to stay at home, you can order items off WHAM's Amazon Wish List, or you can donate money here

Gallery Furniture 

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale needs volunteers and donations to help the community. At the North Freeway location, Gallery Furniture is giving out free meals to seniors and children from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. Mattress Mack is asking for volunteers to help distribute food, answer phones, etc. as well as for nonperishable food and toiletry (including baby wipes and toilet paper) donations. Drop donations off at the North Freeway location, or donate money on GoFundMe

Harris County Public Health 

Harris County Public Health needs volunteers to work in the surge call center March 11–25. The volunteers will be assisting the Medical Reserve Corps and HCPH employees by making phone calls. There are three shift options: 8 a.m.–7 p.m., 8 a.m.–2 p.m., and 1 p.m.–7 p.m. 

Houston Food Bank

As Houstonia reported, Houston Food Bank needs help packing quarantine kits. However, the organization also needs more volunteers to help with food packing and food distribution. Check out this link for available volunteer opportunities. 

Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston

As we previously reported, Interfaith Ministries is asking the public for donations so they can deliver emergency kits with a week’s worth of food to 4,300-plus homebound seniors. You can donate here. They are also running low on pet food, especially dry and canned cat food, for their Animeals program. Email [email protected] for more info. 

Kids' Meals

Kids' Meals, which provides free, healthy meals to pre-school-aged children, is ramping up its operations to feed even more children during the COVID-19 crisis. They are looking for donations and volunteers to pack meals and make deliveries. To learn how to volunteer and even pack meals at home, check out our article. To volunteer, click this link

A reminder, though. We've been instructed to do the following things to help slow the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • If you’re sick or feeling sick, don’t go out in public. If you're even feeling a little under the weather, donate, don't volunteer.
  • Whether or not you’re sick, avoid large groups of people. The CDC has recommended people keep gatherings to 10 people or less.
  • Keep a distance from people as much as possible when you go out, if you go out. 

Living by these guidelines doesn't make helping out our fellow Houstonians easy, as we all know by now, but the wonderful thing about the people of the Bayou City is we are certainly creative. Ask local charities if there are other ways to be of assistance if you're feeling at all nervous about volunteer work. We all need to do our best to keep ourselves and the most vulnerable members of our population, safe.