How Can We Help?

How can I help support my Bay Area community during this outbreak?

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Besides protecting yourself/others by sheltering-in-place and “physical” distancing, below are ways you can contribute (both passively and actively) supplies, time, or energy to fight covid-19. Some of these are specific to the Bay Area but can be extrapolated to other places. 

**IMPORTANT: If you are elderly or immune-compromised, some of the in-person volunteer opportunities we do not recommend for you; however there are other small and large ways you can contribute remotely.**

~~~~~~~~~~~SUPPORT BROADLY~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are fortunate to have them, please consider continuing to pay your gardener, or housecleaner, even though they may no longer be coming to your home.


  • Donate hospital supplies to hospitals: e.g. N95 masks, Surgical masks, Face shields, Safety goggles, Gowns, Hand sanitizer, Disinfecting wipes, CAPR/PAPR machines, flocked swabs. To find hospitals’ needs in your geographic area, visit here
    • LOCAL EXAMPLE: Stanford Hospital is accepting by mail ONLY Attn: Supply Donations Center 820 Quarry Rd. Extension Palo Alto, CA 94304. Details at Donations must be unopened, original packaging, in accordance with hospital standards. Not accepting homemade supplies at this time. 
  • Donate blood: Find your local blood bank here and call them to make an appointment and go through screening questions to check eligibility. 
    • LOCAL EXAMPLE: Stanford’s blood bank number is 650-723-7831.
  • Donate soap, laundry detergent, socks and underwear to local homeless shelter such as Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto: 1854 Bay Rd, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 open 10am-6pm.
  • Donate funds to a cause providing relief: here are some organizations helping with the pandemic. Additional ideas include: 
    • Refuse the refund and double down. If a nonprofit you support cancels its fundraising event, tell them to keep the ticket funds, and make an additional donation to help them overcome the shortfall. Many non-profits that provide vital services to the community are falling short on donations due to limitations on fundraising 
    • Contribute to the response effort. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has created three COVID-19 Coronavirus Regional Response Funds, which will provide emergency assistance to vulnerable people in our area, particularly the homeless. Make a donation today.
    • Help the helpers. Reach out directly to the nonprofits in the community that provide a safety net to workers and others hit hard by the disruption of this outbreak. Make a donation for them to use where they see the greatest needs. In Santa Clara County, look to the Emergency Assistance Network, and in San Mateo County, look to the Core Service Agencies.

~~~~~~~~~~~VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES~~~~~~~~~~~ 

  • Design and manufacture personal protective equipment Need: Sealed environment that protects the entire face but has a clear plastic shield to see clearly. Ask: Looking for help with ideas or making an open source DIY guide for how to create these enclosed hoods from easily accessible materials. Here is an example of an Open Source project to make traditional Face Shields. Email [email protected] for info
  • Enroll in a clinical trial to expedite vaccine and treatment development: complete list of trials availablehere.
    • If you were exposed to someone with Covid-19: Enroll in a clinical trial for a drug that may help prevent development of symptoms (so this would benefit you as a person as well as others!) – email [email protected] for info
    • If you test positive for Covid-19: Volunteer for an NIH Vaccine Research Center study by donating blood for studies on the immune system. Participants will be compensated for their time and convenience. To volunteer, call 1-866-833-5433 or email [email protected]
  • Join a local mutual aid network or form one for your community. Start HERE. For mutual aid network for SF/Bay Area, look here
    • Help an older or immune-compromised adult buy their groceries
    • You can help shopping from the store or teach them to order groceries online so they don’t have to expose themselves to put their health at risk by going to public places: Or simply check in on one of these elderly people in isolation. SF/Bay Area sign up available at the following link 
    • Help someone who is vulnerable in your community
    • Consider helping with meal prep, transport to doctor’s appointments, signing up for health insurance, calling about medication refills, childcare, translation, with spiritual support etc.: South Bay sign up available here
    • Volunteer for your local food bank
    • Find a list of partner agencies. They currently have a higher need for volunteers at their distribution sites in the community versus their warehouses. 
      • LOCAL EXAMPLE: Second Harvest Foodbank is one Bay Area option that is reliant on a volunteer workforce to help them pre-box and distribute food to the community. If you are in good health and you have time, you can sign up for a shift here. Please sign up on the calendar. 
  • Start COVID-19 research at your institution: Funding opportunities are being tracked HERE. Email [email protected] if any major grants or programs are missing 
  • Encourage your company or university to join the Open Covid Pledge:  Under normal circumstances, the patent and copyright protocols that protect intellectual property incentivize biomedical innovation in the public and private sector. But in the present crisis, there are legitimate concerns that the process of negotiating licenses and the fear of infringement liability may slow the use of our intellectual property in COVID-19 research, and in the scaling and commercialization of technologies needed to end the pandemic. Open Covid Pledge is partnering with Universities such as Stanford and Berkeley, and companies, and looking for additional partners to: 1) Make available intellectual property to end the COVID-19 epidemic, 2) Ensure intellectual property remains available, and 3) Not sue for the use of intellectual property used for purposes relating to Covid-19. Please contact Ariel Ganz [email protected] for more information.
  • Take a project-based class at Stanford on Covid-19: Visit the class website at where the class videos will be posted. You can also email [email protected] (the professor) expressing an interest in enrollment
  • Become a citizen scientist and play Foldit puzzles. Click HERE to uncover the best ways to fight COVID-19.
  • Do science outreach while you shelter-in-place:
    • Sign up for Skype a Scientist live sessions to help school children stay excited about learning! 
    • Answer questions from the public about COVID-19 and help improve a public health chatbot with Ask a Scientist and Jennifer chatbot (NASEM).
    • Edit Wikipedia entries related to COVID-19 to make sure information is accurate and up-to-date. Learn how to edit here. If you are fluent in more than one language, translate COVID-19 resources (e.g. Wikipedia pages).
  • If you are a medical, nursing, Physician Assistant or respiratory therapy student: Please complete this Form to be part of a centralized, national COVID19 student network that will be made available for hospitals to use. Please spread this form and message as widely as you can. To further mobilize our efforts, we are also in the process of (1) creating a website to centralize this information, and (2)  we will be working in conjunction with local and state Medical Reserve Corps (or states/counties where they exist). If you have questions, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to email lead project coordinator and MS1, [email protected].