“Even if you are following the recommended guidelines to help reduce the spread of this virus, you can still provide valuable help to our community in these difficult times,” Costa Howard said. “From volunteering at local food banks, to checking in on shut-in neighbors, to delivering meals to the homes of seniors and families in need, you can help others while maintaining social distance and staying safe yourself.”
Costa Howard said local food banks and homeless shelters are in critical need of donations and healthy volunteers. She urged residents to visit www.givingdupage.org/volunteer to find a list of local organizations that need help, including the DuPage Senior Citizens Council, the West Suburban Community Pantry, and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. However, she cautioned residents to avoid volunteering if they are sick now or have been sick in the past month, if they have traveled outside Illinois recently, if they are 60 or older, or if they have diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems that may make them more vulnerable to complications.
Costa Howard encouraged residents to visit the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service website, at www.Serve.Illinois.gov, for advice on how to volunteer safely. She also noted that healthy residents are encouraged to consider donating blood, because blood banks are facing a severe shortage due to the cancellation of large-scale blood drives.
“If you have a health risk that limits your ability to volunteer in person, there are ways to contribute from your own home,” Costa Howard said. “You can call friends and neighbors who may be isolated, to make sure they’re okay. If you haven’t completed your U.S. Census form yet, you can take five minutes to fill it out and make sure our communities get our fair share of future resources. You can contribute money to an organization that’s helping people get through this. And remember – if you’re staying home and staying away from others, you’re doing your part by slowing the spread of this disease and helping to end this pandemic, one person at a time.”