Make a donation, share your child's art, pick up the phone: How to help during the COVID-19 outbreak
Here are some ideas for ways to make a difference (besides staying home)
Quebecers are being urged to stay in their homes as much as possible, but just because people can't be physically near one another doesn't mean you can't help out in other ways.
The Quebec government has banned all indoor and outdoor gatherings in a concerted bid to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, urging people to remain at least two metres apart when they are in each other's presence.
All businesses where people must be face to face are closed, except for essential services.
That means many people in isolation need deliveries of food and other necessities, as well as financial assistance. And many need someone to talk to.
Here are some of the ways you can help vulnerable people during this time of crisis.
Donate to emergency funds
Several fundraising initiatives are underway in Quebec to help support vulnerable people and workers who are out of a job because of the novel coronavirus.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced Monday the city and boroughs have donated $1.1 million to an emergency fund for food banks, organizations that offer psychological services and those helping seniors in isolation.
Citizens with the means to donate are also being encouraged to go to centraide-mtl.org or to text the word COVID to 80-100 to make a donation.
The Depot, a food bank in Montreal, is not looking for new volunteers in an effort to limit contact but is providing emergency food baskets outside its location on Somerled Avenue and via home delivery. Anyone who wishes to make a money donation can do so at through the organization's website.
Last week, Premier François Legault called on healthy Quebecers to donate blood to Héma-Québec. This is one of the exceptions to the province's ban on gatherings.
The organization needs 1,000 blood donations per day to be able to keep up with regular demand for blood and blood products, including stem cells and plasma.
According to Héma-Québec, additional measures have been put in place to ensure the virus isn't being spread at its sites. Those include asking questions to ensure people aren't sick before donating, disinfecting beds and screens, and maintaining two metres between people whenever possible.
Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must wait 21 days before giving blood.
Find out where to donate blood here.
Volunteer to prepare, deliver food
Most large grocery chains have offered delivery services for years, but some smaller grocery stores are now also offering that option.
Several organizations are also looking for volunteers to deliver food to seniors and others in need.
TrashTalk, a youth-led organization that normally picks up trash in the West Island, has begun working with grocery stores to take food orders from seniors in Kirkland and Beaconsfield and deliver groceries to them. Sign up to volunteer here.
The Montreal Native Women's Shelter is also looking for volunteers to pick up food, prepare meals and deliver them to Métis, Inuit and First Nations women. Donations of food, toilet paper and soap are also appreciated. Contact Tealey Ka'senni:saks to volunteer.
Volunteers with the ability to deliver food or support those who are more vulnerable can also sign up for a mutual aid program set up by Montreal activists.
Fight isolation with art
An international organization called #StudentsAgainstCorona, now active in 14 cities, including Montreal, aims to connect low-risk, healthy people who can help with those who are more vulnerable and at high risk of contracting the virus. Volunteers will work to help get them food and medicine or simply offer a friendly voice in this time of isolation. Sign up here.
And a Montreal organization is sending children's drawings to seniors' residences to help brighten their days in this period of isolation. Parents can send their children's letters and art work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Order from local restaurants, or buy a gift card
Since Sunday, Quebec restaurants have been operating only as food delivery and take-out businesses.
Ordering in from your favourite local or family-owned restaurant can help it from going under without walk-in traffic.
If you're looking to support a struggling small business, buy a gift card to help keep them afloat. Or see if you can make a purchase from them online.