Washington state was the first to be affected by the virus.

By Alison Fox
May 07, 2020
Advertisement

As coronavirus hit the United States, Washington state was the first to be affected by the virus.In recent weeks, the state has experienced a declining curve of new confirmed cases but remains under a stay at home order.

Still Washington has recorded just over 14,000 cases, with about 6,200 of them found in King County, where Seattle sits, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

That means The Emerald City — renowned for its robust cafe culture and bustling stalls of Pike Place Market — needs a helping hand now more than ever. 

People exercise social distancing at a park in West Seattle on March 20, 2020.
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

From supporting the families of front line workers to aiding struggling restaurants or using your buying power to support local businesses, there are many ways to prop up the people of Seattle. 

Here are a few ways to get involved.

Take Care of Local Businesses

To eliminate the virus, many local businesses have been forced to shut their doors. One way to help support them is by buying a gift card. Intentionalist offers shoppers a gift certificate marketplace to support dozens of small businesses.

Similarly, people can support the businesses in the famed Pike Place Market by purchasing gift cards for everything from local pottery to spiced tea online. And to support those who live and work around the market, the Pike Place Market Foundation is raising money for their Market Community Safety Net Campaign.

Give Blood or Plasma

Staying home to tamp down the curve of new infections is necessary, but it has also led to the cancellation of many school and employee blood drives, according to King County. Anyone who can donate blood is encouraged to make an appointment with Bloodworks Northwest. Those who have recovered been from COVID-19 for at least 28 days are eligible to donate convalescent plasma, which may be used to help develop therapies for the virus.

Support First Responders by Helping with Childcare Needs

Two nurses working at a drive-through coronavirus screening station in Seattle.
John Moore/Getty Images

Essential workers have no choice but to go into work — leading to the need of extra childcare, especially while schools are closed. To help, the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County is waiving the $25 per day fee to care for the kids of these essential workers. Donations to the group can help with those efforts, ensuring first-responder parents have one less thing to worry about. 

Additionally, the YMCA of Greater Seattle turned its King County branches into child care centers for essential workers, including healthcare workers and grocery store employees. Anyone who wants to support the effort can donate on their website and has the option of specifying which location they want their donation to be affiliated with.

Aid Struggling Restaurants

The Veggie Grill restaurant in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Many restaurants have been forced to close or cut back as COVID-19 has spread, and workers at those restaurants have been deeply impacted. Organizations like The Plate Fund, supported by the Schultz Family Foundation (of Seattle-based Starbucks) along with local nonprofits and restaurant owners, are raising money to help. The Plate Fund provides impacted restaurant industry workers who live and work in King County a one-time payment of $500. So far, the group said it has raised $7 million through donations and distributed funds to 14,000 restaurant workers.

Help People Get Access to Food

School lunches being provided to students after Seattle schools closed in March.
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are being told to stay inside, and that’s especially true for vulnerable populations like seniors and young children who rely on school lunch. To help make that easier while still ensuring people get groceries and necessities they need, programs like Shopping Angels have emerged. The volunteer-based service shops for these groceries and necessities and delivers them to people’s doors. People can volunteer to shop, donate to help the program or sponsor someone to pay their grocery bills.

Additionally, COVID-19 has only heightened food insecurity issues. To help address the need, people can donate to organizations like the United Way of King County, which is providing services like grab-and-go meals for kids, as well as the WA Food Fund, which supports food banks and pantries.

Donate to Support Medical Care for Vulnerable Residents

Coronavirus is more than a health emergency, it’s an access-to-healthcare-emergency as well — and people who can’t afford medical bills are at even greater risk. That’s where programs like Neighborcare Health come in, which provides medical care to people, including those who are low-income, uninsured, or homeless and doesn’t turn away anyone who can’t pay. Donations to groups like Neighborcare Health help keep this important work going.

Click here for updates on coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.