The impact of the coronavirus on local community organizations

The impact of the coronavirus on local community organizations
Coronavirus (WSB-TV)

Featuring information provided by KIRO 7 CARES partners.

As we all navigate through the disruptions in our lives created by the Coronavirus pandemic, non-profit organizations are particularly vulnerable in these uncertain times. Many have been forced to cancel or postpone major fundraisers and high-profile events while some groups have had to close their facilities or postpone services provided. Many organizations must manage their projects without volunteers or have seen a reduction in donations. All of these unique scenarios have the same fundamental impact – a significant blow to their operational budgets. Non-profits fill a vital need in our community and the impact of COVID-19 could be devastating to them. Below are ways we can all support these organizations and help to build a stronger and more connected community. KIRO 7 Cares.

Reduced Fundraising due to Postponed, Cancelled, Adjusted Events

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The Impact: Non-profits that raise a large portion of their revenue from galas, luncheons, walks, and other events could be hit the hardest in the current environment. While some groups are postponing, others have transitioned to virtual or online experiences, but most are prepping for a significant reduction in the levels of funds raised through their signature events.

How You Can Help:

· The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Seattle Guild postponed their Dream Gala on March 7th. A new date has not yet been announced. Get the latest information here.

· Komen Puget Sound hosted their annual Grace Notes Gala as a virtual fundraising experience. Visit the event page here to watch a special video from the keynote speaker and learn more about how you can give.

· The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society postponed their Big Climb events in Seattle, which were to take place on March 8 and March 22. Get the latest updates from the Washington-Alaska chapter of LLS here.

· The Ignite Worldwide Spring Gala was rescheduled from March 28th to June 13th. Learn More.

· The Habitat for Humanity Beyond the Build Luncheon was rescheduled from April 3rd to June 3rd. Buy tickets and learn more here.

· The PAWS Wild Night Gala schedule for April 18th has been postponed. Stay in touch on this site to learn when a new date has been determined.

· The Goodtimes Gala scheduled for April 25th will transition from an in-person event to an online opportunity. Interested supporters will have the opportunity to participate in an online auction and virtual paddle raise. Learn More.

Drop in Donations of Basic Necessities

The Impact: Organizations which provide important basic needs to individuals and families in need are expecting upticks in demand. When resources are limited or dedicated elsewhere, people without means tend to feel the impact the worst.

How You Can Help:

· As high school, college, business, and event closures unfold across the Pacific Northwest, Bloodworks Northwest officials issued a stark warning about the impact on blood drives in the community. Approximately 60% of the blood supply is collected at mobile drives, of which schools make up 25%. School closures add new stress to a community blood supply already in peril from ever-diminishing opportunities for the public to donate. Find out how you can donate at a local Blood Center or Blood Drive.

· At Eastside Baby Corner, volunteers and staff are working diligently to continue to provide critical essentials to children and families whose financial or family situation makes them most vulnerable to the many consequences of our current public health situation. High needs are diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, and 6); powdered infant formula; and diaper wipes. These can be directly shipped to EBC through their Giving Catalog or dropped off at the Issaquah Hub during normal donation hours. Please note: Used items are no longer being accepted at the drop-off locations.

· Food Lifeline is our region’s largest hunger relief organization and over half of the neighbors they serve are children or seniors. In-kind donations to Food Lifeline, accounting for 85 percent of the food they source annually, have declined dramatically in the last week while the need has increased. In response to these challenges, new strategies are being implemented that will keep food flowing to our neighbors, but also carry significant additional costs and present new and different logistical challenges. Food Lifeline invites the support of all those who are able to help them meet emerging needs by making monetary donations. For more information on supporting Food Lifeline call (206) 545-6600 or go to

Support Services Adjusted

The Impact: Services provided by many organizations have been impacted or altogether halted, primarily in order to keep a compromised community safe and healthy. Some senior service facilities have closed their doors and other support programs for those fighting cancer or other diseases are on hiatus.

How You Can Help:

· Sound Generations, formerly Senior Services, works to support food security, transportation, health & wellness, and assistance services to meet the diverse needs of our growing aging population in King County. The organization continues to serve the community in spite of the disruption with some programs more affected than others. Meals on Wheels is currently stable with slight changes in how food is delivered to protect the safety of the driver and that of the client’s meals. Senior Center sites, however, have been forced to close which further isolates members of our community and limits access to basic needs. The extra steps being taken to meet those needs come with significant additional costs and present new and logistical challenges. Sound Generations is requesting community aid. Learn more here.

· Make-a-Wish Washington-Alaska has made the difficult decision to postpone all wish travel, as well as wish kid participation in all activities and events related to Make-A-Wish that involve large gatherings, until further notice. It is estimate that more than 30 wishes per day could be delayed by COVID-19 related postponements. Because of COVID-19 postponements, there will be more wish kids waiting for wishes than ever before. Your help today will bring hope and joy to wish kids in our community. To find out how you can get involved or to make a donation, please visit

· Cancer Pathways has, since its creation as Gilda’s Club Seattle in 2000, provided cancer support and education programs to men, women, teens and children touched by cancer. The staff and Board of Directors of Cancer Pathways are all working hard to keep their valuable services available for their vulnerable community, but facilities have been closed and fundraising events cancelled, creating a significant need for funding and resources. Living with Cancer, Caregiver, Bereavement and Parent support groups will be held online for the months of March and April, but transitioning long-term to offer more virtual programs will be a challenge. Learn more how you can help Cancer Pathways weather the current storm at

· As the country’s leading champion of lung health, the American Lung Association has been closely monitoring the this emerging public health situation. As a result, they are now taking the measure of postponing all local events and in-person meetings nationwide through April 30, 2020. Locally this will impact the Better Breathers Clubs, professional education events, LUNG FORCE Expo and all fundraising events, including the Climb for Clean Air. The regional health promotion team is working on guidance and plans for all health promotion offerings and the Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNG-USA) is available to assist callers in need of critical health information. Stay up to date at the American Lung Association of Washington.

· The disruption will no doubt affect Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s many projects, fundraising, and ultimately the families they serve. Many of these families are already experiencing vulnerabilities that this crisis will likely exacerbate. Some will be unable to work or will face a lack of childcare or a missed paycheck that can lead to severe hardship. In response to the crisis, Habitat has created a COVID-19 Resiliency Fund that will allow families in danger of losing their housing to apply for assistance. The fund will help to ensure that hardworking families are able to withstand any economic blows they may face based on the loss of income.

· Medical Teams International is moving quickly to pivot the entire organization to prioritize preventing the spread of COVID-19 and to support local health systems in responding to it. They are partnering with Public Health - Seattle & King County to repurpose their Mobile Dental vans to serve as support centers for drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. With a target start of March 18 in Bellevue, mobile vans and support staff will assist local medical personnel as they screen more than 130 people per day for COVID-19, 6 days per week. You can support this effort by making a donation here.

Decline in Volunteers

The Impact: With social-distancing an important tactic in the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, volunteers are needing to cancel their shifts at a time when groups need more help than ever. Organizations are being forced to come up with creative and adaptable solutions as the situation evolves.

How You Can Help:

· Cancer Pathways is looking for volunteers to assist with IT, web development, and other technical services to increase their online presence with virtual webinars, classes and podcasts as well as develop remote volunteer options to keep volunteers connected and engaged.

· Looking for a way to help children in need while still following the current CDC guidelines for public health and safety? Eastside Baby Corner suggests hosting a remote community drive through the EBC High Needs Giving Catalog or a Facebook Fundraiser. Learn More.

· Habitat for Humanity has a pressing need for volunteer labor at their construction sites. With the diminishing number of volunteers on-site and the National AmeriCorps Build-a-thon cancelled (80 volunteers) in May, their construction schedule will slow down dramatically on two of their major build sites. Learn how you can get involved.

· Schools are out, but IGNITE has a number of exciting remote volunteer opportunities available. If you are interested in doing grant research, data entry, writing for an event blog, or more, contact Lauren at

Individual Resources Dedicated Elsewhere

The Impact: With schools closing, offices implementing work-from-home policies, and communities adopting social-distancing practices, it is hard to ignore the profound effects this virus is having on our daily lives. During these difficult times, we need each other and our community more than ever. While keeping yourselves, your families, friends, and colleagues safe and healthy is of utmost importance, there are many others in need of your support.

How You Can Help: We encourage you to visit any of these KIRO 7 Cares partner organizations to learn how you can make an impact.