How to Help Los Angeles Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic (Video)

From buying masks for a cause to giving healthcare workers a free vacation, here are ways to get involved — from anywhere.

As coronavirus hit Los Angeles and the west coast before sweeping the rest of the United States, the city continues to grapple with the fallout of the virus.

In the LA area, more than 18,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded, including more than 800 deaths, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In fact, Health Director Barbara Ferrer told CNN on Friday that COVID-19 has now become the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County.

While Los Angeles, much like the rest of the country, is under a stay at home order, there are things we can do to help the City of Angels. From donating food to supporting local businesses with our buying power and even rewarding those on the front lines with a vacation to look forward to when this is all over, there are plenty of ways to support the city right from the comfort of our own homes.

These are a few ways you can help.

Buy Meals for Those on the Front Lines

Healthcare workers are currently overwhelmed and overworked, as they risk their lives to save others. To make long, tough shifts a little easier, there are many ways to provide meals for frontline workers in the area.

A Help Feed the Frontline Fighting COVID-19 GoFundMe campaign -- started by a group of public elementary school parents -- says it has dished out 28,000 meals since it was set up in March, serving frontline workers at more than a dozen LA locations, including several hospitals. Similarly, the Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) Westside Los Angeles is donating things like breakfast burritos (a quintessential food in LA) to medical facilities, raising money through Venmo and their Facebook page.

Food for medical workers
A row of finished bagged meals to be donated to medical workers, line the counter as sandwiches are prepared at the Carvery Kitchen in Santa Monica, Calif. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Restaurants have also gotten involved, raising funds to help cook and deliver meals to area hospitals. For example, restaurants The Draycott and Olivetta restaurants are asking for donations through a GoFundMe campaign in order to cook and deliver meals to hospitals like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Give a Healthcare Hero a Free Vacation

Los Angeles nurses
Nurses in front of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Araya Diaz/Getty Images

To reward deserving healthcare workers, Classic Hotels & Resorts started their Hospitality for Healthcare Heroes campaign, giving away 250 2-night stays at one of their properties (including those in Laguna Beach, only a short drive away from LA). The hotel group is asking people to nominate a healthcare worker for a stay through either their website or through social media by tagging the nominee, saying why they deserve a vacation and tagging both "#Hospitality4HealthcareHeroes" and one of the properties. Submissions will be accepted through May 15 and winners, selected at random, will be notified the week of May 18.

Help Feed Those In Need

LA food bank
Volunteers load bags of food to a nearby table as other volunteers load up people's cars with boxes of food in the Crenshaw District. Cars lined up for blocks for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, in collaboration with Labor Community Services, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As over a million people in Los Angeles have lost their jobs due to coronavirus, according to Business Insider, donations to food banks and organizations that help those who are currently in need of a healthy meal go a long way. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is trying to help those who have been affected by things like lost income and disrupted school meals. You can donate to their Coronavirus Emergency Funding initiative to help provide these much-needed services. According to the food bank, $25 equals 100 meals.

Additionally, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region is looking for volunteers to help distribute meals to those affected by school closures. There are more than 50 distribution sites across the county.

Support Hotels by Buying a Gift Card — and Give Back in the Process

Many businesses around the country have been forced to shut their doors, including many in the hospitality industry. One way to help them get off the ground is by purchasing gift cards that can be used at a later date. The Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills is going one step further by donating 25 percent of the proceeds from their $100 gift cards to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles for the rest of the year. The gift cards don't expire and include amenities like complimentary room upgrades and late checkout.

Buy Masks That Make a Difference

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that everyone wear a cloth mask when they are out in public to prevent unintentionally spreading the coronavirus. While you can make a mask out of something like a bandana, companies have stepped up to start producing these cloth face coverings — and many of those are giving back to those in need as they do so.

In Los Angeles, footwear brand New Republic is making packs of three of cotton face masks, donating a mask for every mask sold to the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center or area senior centers. Heather Taylor Home, an LA-based home goods and textile company is donating 10 face masks for every 10-pack of masks sold, made with scrap fabric. The masks are donated to medical workers, first responders, social workers, and those who are homeless. And Hedley & Bennett, which typically makes items like kitchen aprons, converted their LA operations to make masks, donating one for every mask sold.

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