6 Ways You Can Give Back This #GivingTuesday
Today’s campaign is aimed to help those who have been affected by the pandemic.
If you’re familiar with #GivingTuesday, you’re probably aware that this global movement usually occurs in winter right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Started in 2012 as a counter to the shopping fever that grips us during the holiday season, #GivingTuesday promotes doing something to give back to your community, whether it be through charitable donations, volunteerism or just doing something generous for someone else. Last year, the campaign raised a total of $1,970,000,000 in charitable donations in the U.S., and inspired countless acts of generosity.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the #GivingTuesday campaign has added an extra Tuesday to the calendar in order to help out those who are struggling. Throughout today, May 5th, the movement encourages us to find a way to give back to those in our communities — no gesture is too big or too small!
Eager to participate? Here are six ways you can give back and make a difference this #GivingTuesday.
Order Takeout from Your Favorite Restaurant
It's no secret that the food service industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Without dine-in service, many restaurants have pivoted to takeout. Show your support for your favorite local spots by ordering a meal for takeout, delivery or curbside pickup. If you can, order directly from the restaurant itself — this will eliminate the fees third-party delivery services often charge a restaurant to deliver its food. Need more convincing? If you order takeout from a local independent Mexican restaurant today and tweet a picture of the bill with the tag #CincoToGo, Jose Cuervo might pick up the tab.
If you’re not in the mood for takeout or are focused on cleaning out the food in your fridge, you can still give back. Call up your favorite restaurants and see if they’re selling gift cards that can be redeemed when they open back up again at a later date. Not only will this help the restaurant out, it’ll also give you something to look forward to!
You can also give back to your local greasy spoon by nominating it for Kraft Heinz’s “Heinz for Diners” relief fund. The ketchup brand will award $2,000 grants to help cover rent and operating costs for 500 qualifying, independently owned diners. You can nominate your favorite diner to receive this one-time grant by filling out the form at HeinzforDiners.com. Heinz is accepting applications now through May 31 or until all grants have been awarded.
Help Feed Someone in Need
Food banks are struggling. More people need food, but since volunteers are staying home, many food banks are left understaffed.
This #GivingTuesday consider donating to your local food bank. While food donations are appreciated, the Wall Street Journal reports that food banks actually prefer money donations right now, as they can purchase food for those in need without having to “sort, organize and repack [food donations] with a diminished staff.”
Panera is also making it easier to help feed those in need. In partnership with Feeding America, the chain has launched the #SeeAPlateFillAPlate Challenge to raise funds for Together Without Hunger, a campaign aimed at providing 500,000 meals for kids and families who don’t have access to enough food during the current health crisis. Here’s how you can participate:
- Take a selfie of yourself holding an empty plate decorated with the hashtag #SeeAPlateFillAPlate. You can write it on by hand or use one of Panera’s Instagram stickers.
- Fill your plate by making a $3 donation at the Together Without Hunger website.
- Nominate five friends to also fill a plate.
- Share it on your Instagram story.
If you’re not up to sharing the #SeeAPlateFillAPlate Challenge on social media, you can also go to the Together Without Hunger website to make a donation or round up your next Panera order to support the cause.
Order Groceries from Local Markets, Farmers and Food Distributors
As you’ve probably seen, the shelves at the grocery store have recently been pretty bare. In response to the scarcity, restaurants, farmers’ markets and farms have taken it upon themselves to sell their produce, meat and dry goods online to consumers. If you’re looking to support local businesses this Giving Tuesday, give those businesses in your area a call and see if they have groceries available for delivery or curbside pickup.
Your favorite food distributors are also jumping in and selling off goods that would normally be shipped to restaurants. Meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda now offers nationwide shipping on its famous beef, pork, veal, lamb and poultry, and you can have a number of high-quality meat boxes shipped directly to your front door from Heritage Foods.
And, if you place an order from The Chefs' Warehouse, a specialty foods distributor, you can give back while you grocery shop. That’s right — 10% of their retail sales are donated to furloughed employees and other impacted members of the food service industry. You can also give back to displaced food and restaurant industry workers through the donation page on the Chefs' Warehouse website.
Say “Thank You” to Essential Workers
Millions of essential workers are risking their health during the coronavirus outbreak, and it’s easy to offer thanks to healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers, postal workers and other heroes. Express your gratitude by sending a virtual “thank you” card to the essential workers in your life. Websites like Paperless Post and Punchbowl have a variety of beautiful e-cards you can send for free.
Or, you can show your support by arranging for coffee or takeout to be delivered to frontline workers. It’s a win-win: You can support local restaurants and give a free meal to those working during the pandemic. However, if you’re sending coffee or food to a hospital, be sure to call ahead first and make sure outside deliveries are being accepted.
Cracker Barrel and Dunkin’ Donuts have also found ways to pay tribute to essential workers. For each $10 Cracker Barrel gift card purchased, the restaurant will donate a meal to a healthcare worker, and if you send a Dunkin’ e-gift card to thank an essential worker, the coffee chain will donate $1 to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, which supports nonprofits helping families affected by COVID-19.
Donate to a Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
More than eight million restaurant industry employees have lost their jobs, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, and many industry leaders and organizations have set up relief funds to help them out. Guy Fieri has partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to provide one-time, $500 grants to restaurant employees in need who have been impacted by COVID-19, and you can get involved by visiting the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.
Off Their Plate — a Boston-based initiative that’s now spread to San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Seattle — is providing economic relief by partnering with restaurants to prepare meals for healthcare professionals. The movement is funded completely by donations, and each $100 donation sends 10 meals to frontline workers and gives restaurant employees three hours of working time.
The Greg Hill Foundation and Samuel Adams are supporting displaced restaurant workers by creating the Restaurant Strong Fund, a donation-based relief system which sends grants to unemployed restaurant, bar, café and nightclub employees. So far, the Restaurant Strong Fund has raised over $3 million in donations, and you can even donate directly to help workers in your state here.
Buy a Mask to Give a Mask
In general, the CDC advises using a cloth face covering in public to a) slow the spread of the virus and b) prevent people who may be asymptomatic from unknowingly transmitting the virus to others, and as of April 13th, the CDC strongly recommends wearing cloth face coverings in “public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” (think grocery stores, pharmacies and public transportation).
Don’t have a mask on hand? Turns out, you can purchase personal protective equipment while also giving back to someone in need. For every mask sold, MaskClub is donating a mask to a first responder on the front lines, such as medical workers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers and firefighters. The masks feature tons of fun designs, but we’re particularly enthralled by these adorable food-themed masks.