Impact of COVID on holiday charities

Regan Marsh

Image courtesy of St. Leo’s Food Connection Facebook

Across the nation, numerous families struggle to have enough to survive as unemployment increases. Yet the United States grappled with being able to provide support to those in need before the pandemic. These people are in the vicious cycle of poverty, and as the holidays approaches the gaps in the wealth become more apparent. This pandemic has made the population in many ways stingier and unwilling to share services and supplies, for fear of another surge in the number of cases.

The giving spirit has been widely celebrated around Bellarmine’s community this year, especially in the push for students to perform acts of HUGS. Although the HUGS initiative may seem like it was a long time ago (in reality it began this month), it served as an important reminder of how acts of service can make the days brighter. Continuing the HUGS initiative is a first step in being more service oriented in this time of fear.

Another option is to find local charities that need support and give what you can. Here are some charities that are open to donations, and their COVID policies so that safe giving can be practiced:

St. Leo’s Food Connection is open for volunteering and donations most days except the first Thursday of each month and selected holidays. To share in the holiday spirit, bring canned non perishable food items to donate. If possible, consider donating baby formula, which is always a high demand item for many food banks.

The Nativity House is a CSS run homeless shelter that has been serving the community as an apartment complex for the less fortunate. Service opportunities include volunteering at the Nativity House or bringing items to donate. As the seasons continue to change, consider bringing warm blankets and sleeping bags or clean clothing items.

The Humane Society is not open to public walk-throughs, but if there is an interest in a specific animal at the shelter, families can call and set up an appointment to meet the animal. Volunteering has continued during this pandemic, but limited availability for orientation has occurred in an effort to continue social distancing.

A simple way to assist the community at large without being inside is to do trash pick ups. Bellarmine’s Beach Cleanup Club provides students with the opportunity to participate in organized beach cleanups to help sustain our ecosystems.

Charity and COVID may seem hard to mesh this holiday season with all of the unknowns. Remember to do your part, but be safe!