In times of crisis, Raleigh and our neighbors rise to the challenge. Here are 50 ways our community has stepped up in the face of the coronavirus.
By Katie Cusack
The historic Rialto Theatre. Photograph by Bob Karp
The moment COVID-19 came to the Triangle, our community started working quickly and creatively to mitigate its impact. From providing relief for the people who are out of work to sewing masks for the front lines, organizations big and small have found ways to use their skills, facilities and networks for good. Here are just 50 of the ways Raleigh area organizations have given back during coronavirus—and how you can support their efforts.
1: Activate Good is proving that, amid stay-at-home orders, it is still possible for individuals and families to help their communities. Not only do they connect people with urgent, in-person needs, but with volunteer efforts that can be done remotely—send digital thank you cards to healthcare workers, write grants, or sew home goods among many other opportunities.
2: BAILEY’s Fine Jewelry, a time-honored company, reminds us that while many things are canceled, love isn’t. As a part of their new #loveisnotcanceled initiative, they are partnering with the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation to support its Healthcare Hero Response Fund which seeks to nourish both the bodies and souls of healthcare workers. To encourage donations, they gave customers the chance at opening their own BAILEY’S box with a diamond earrings giveaway.
3: Locally-based job recruiting company, Blue Recruit is now connecting community members with seniors in need on the #RaleighBeatsCoronavirus page of their website. Deliver a meal, walk a dog, or bring supplies to those who are most vulnerable and can’t leave their homes. If you or someone you know needs assistance, apply now.
4: Plastic Surgeon Dr. Brian Coan pivoted his Cary-based private clinic, CARE Plastic Surgery, away from elective surgery to treating more immediate injuries, like burns and lacerations. The goal of his Stitch Me Up With CARE practice is to preserve emergency room beds for those in dire need. Chief Operations Officer, Tica Lema, explains: “It’s our duty to ensure the ER does not have to be the first, or only, option for people.”
5: Carolina Ballet Costume Director Kerri Martinsen has assembled a team of 30 volunteers—many of whom are costume makers currently out of work—to use their talents to sew face masks using donated fabric and the company’s own supply of elastics. Over 2,000 of these masks have already been distributed by Covering the Triangle to organizations supporting those experiencing difficulty accessing protective gear or social distancing. Donate here to help pay for supplies.
6: Raleigh-based Catering Works delivered 125 individually boxed meals to the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center Frontline Responders, but they’ve opened their services to sponsorship gifts for anyone who wishes to help other healthcare workers. Bring a smile to those facing the pandemic head-on with your sponsorship.
7: Thanks to an anonymous donor, Clear Path Hospitality, the restaurant group which owns Town Hall Burger & Beer, People’s Coffee, Town Hall Grill, and the recently opened O’Ya Cantina, were able to donate countless meals to UNC Hospitals, local fire departments, sheriff departments and police departments. To continue giving a helping hand, they will keep donating 10% of the proceeds from O’Ya’s opening.
8: Providing more than electricity and natural gas: By contributing $75,000 to Feeding the Carolinas, Dominion Energy is helping food banks across N.C. provide vital hunger relief for individuals and families affected by the pandemic. This is a part of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation’s $1 million mission to support national and local organizations the company serves.
9: One of downtown Raleigh’s most popular neighborhood bars has transformed their establishment. From March 20 through April 24, One Glenwood Bar became Dram Grog and Grocery, a temporary, full-service market vending everything from toilet paper and hand sanitizer to fresh produce and wine. Patrons can still purchase groceries on their website, including generous Happy Hour and Brunch Packages.
10: Acclaimed for their fine gins and spirits, Durham Distillery is now producing hand-made, ethanol-based sanitizing solutions that they’re donating to their colleagues in the hospitality industry. If you have a restaurant, get in touch to learn more,
11: In a matter of two days, Durham Technical Colleges’s Health and Wellness Center pulled together over 3,000 medical supplies, which they donated to their clinical partners UNC Health and Duke Health. Items consisted of much needed gowns, masks, protective eyewear, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer.
12: First Watch, a breakfast, brunch and lunch cafe with several locations in the area, spread their comfort-food love by kicking off a #forthefrontliners initiative: With every meal purchased from April 6 through April 10 at one of their locations in the Triangle and Eastern, N.C., a meal was donated to a local healthcare system the following week. Nearly 4,000 frontliners received meals—double beyond what they were expecting. First Watch remains open for take-out and delivery.
13: Local restauranteur , entrepreneur and business consultant, Gaurav “G” Patel (best known as co-founder of Social House Vodka) used his platform to launch the #HopeForHospitality campaign, which provides displaced hospitality workers with a free meal every day as well as other support. Visit his GoFundMe campaign to donate or learn more.
14: Unsure if you should get tested for COVID-19? At zero cost, GoodRx, the web-based, pharmaceutical savings company is offering free assessment, screening and counseling for patients to discuss their symptoms and help determine if testing is recommended—no insurance necessary.
15: Holly Springs entrepreneur John Newbury developed a new app, Gopher Request, that links community members together so people can request things such as pick-ups and deliveries, or assistance with household tasks—plus, it is currently waiving service fees. Available now in the Apple Store and on Android.
16: While it can’t currently accept drop-off donations, The Green Chair Project—a nonprofit that connects people in need with home furnishings—has partnered with area nonprofits including Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, Read and Feed and the Diaper Bank of North Carolina to become a hub to connect people with essential supplies. For now, donate money instead of goods to support its efforts.
17: Durham based Growga believes that practicing mindfulness is beneficial for all ages, and they’re now offering free, online guided meditation classes in partnership with CorePower Yoga, including ones designed for the whole family. Pay mindfulness forward: Any donations made will benefit A Place at the Table, a pay-what-you-can restaurant in downtown Raleigh, and No Kid Hungry NC.
18: Led by CEO Jess Ekstrom, alumnae of N.C. State University, Headbands for Hope was already modeled around a give-back mission: with every purchase of a headband, the company donates one to a child with cancer. Since the onset of the coronavirus, they are now donating masks for healthcare workers as well. To date, they have given over 50,000 masks to U.S. Acute Care Hospitals. Shop their online site to help them reach more.
19: This niche website for high school sports fans in the Triangle, Sandhills and Eastern North Carolina, Highschoolot.com, raised over $11,000 for Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to ensure that students receive meals while school is out—that’s more than 55,000 meals! While the fundraiser is over, support for the Food Bank is still needed.
20: While the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s regular hunger-prevention programs were disrupted as they sought to maintain the health of their volunteers and recipients, they’ve continued to pivot and find new ways to support the hungry. Most recently, the Food Shuttle partnered with the National Guard to fill those volunteer roles, using Guardsmen to make meals, assemble food boxes and grocery bags and make deliveries to the needy. Click here to support their efforts.
21: Created as a means to connect restaurants, food suppliers and potential clients, the ko•mmunity Hub, created by Drew Smith of kō•än, alongside Kristen Baughman of Tabletop Media Group and Jenn Rice, a journalist and brand consultant, launches this weekend. It offers a single platform where folks can shop for a meal to bring home, buy local produce or pantry items, or donate a meal to people in need.
22: Krispy Kreme, the Winston-Salem born franchise is offering healthcare workers a dozen of their world famous, Original Glazed doughnuts for free on Mondays until May 11. Regular customers can take advantage of #BeSweetSaturdays and receive a free dozen (to share) with the purchase of a dozen donuts.
23: Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, one of the largest dental practices in N.C., gave their staff kits to make personal protective masks for local healthcare heroes with a goal of reaching at least 1,000. In addition to sewing an array of cheerful fabric face masks, their team is teaching the public how to make masks themselves. Check out their step-by-step video guide online.
24: Living Fit, a locally-based nutrition company, has been preparing and sending bagged lunches to a local shelter. Click on Food Bank Donations on the site to support their efforts; 100% of the donations will be matched each week and go to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
25: Murphy’s Naturals, an earth-friendly company known for their natural and plant-based insect repellent products, has introduced their own formulation of hand-sanitizer. Currently, they are notifying customers via email when it’s in stock—be one of the first in line by adding your email to their list.
26: N.C. State University’s Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics, which provides fabrication and prototyping services for internal N.C. State projects and some external customers, is pitching in by making face shields for healthcare workers with the magic of 3D printers. On average, they are producing 200 reusable face shields a day to donate to WakeMed. Directly help healthcare workers in our area through the Get Us Personal Protective Equipment coalition.
27: As a substitute for its Master Class dance program for students, staff and faculty, N.C. State University’s Dance Program has opened up its rich list of virtual dance resources for anyone to experience, for free. Perfect your technique, learn choreography, or just grove to your own beat like no one’s watching.
28: Local Mediterranean restaurant and market Neomande, launched an initiative called One Family. One Community. Breaking Bread. The local favorite will offer freshly baked artisan breads at near-wholesale prices to help keep pantries full and communities fed. Check their website for locations.
29: The Nonwovens Institute at N.C. State University, which specializes in developing engineered fabrics, has united forces with the U.S. Army to provide filtration material for face masks to Fort Bragg. By April, it had already donated over three miles of material, which will be used to create nearly 100,000 face masks. Learn how you can contribute to this work.
30: The North Carolina Artist Relief Fund, Artspace, PineCone, Theatre Raleigh, United Arts Council, and VAE Raleigh, came together to raise funds for all types of artists financially affected by the outbreak. As of April 16th, they have distributed $49,745 to 255 people. Help them support more artists by donating. If you’re an impacted artist, apply for relief.
31: North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), the state’s harbor of antique and modern art is bringing the arts—from the Carolina Ballet’s performance of Monet to inspired Zoom backgrounds—into our living rooms, bedrooms, and make-shift offices. With virtual content, getting the #artnaturepeople experience only takes a few clicks.
32: As soon as the doors were closed to restaurants and hotels, the association behind the state’s $23.5 billion hospitality industry, The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), took action to help their displaced workers. Helping everyone from dishwashers and housekeepers to bartenders and servers, the NCRLA began one of the first quick-access relief funds in N.C., guaranteeing up to $500 per person approximately five days post-application. “The Triangle hospitality community is one big, united family,” says Steve Thanhauser, board chair of the NCRLA. and co-owner of The Angus Barn Restaurant.“They will be the first to help in any crisis.” The organization has already raised over $800,000, and have fulfilled their promise to over 1,000 people. Apply for funding, or donate to help.
33: In response to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce pulled together a site with resources about legal options, loans and more to help small businesses stay afloat and connect with up-to-date news. Apply ASAP to get the most benefits.
34: Reborn Clothing Company, known for upcycling unused garments, is donating 15% of the proceeds from their cotton-soft, Reborn Process Graphic Tee to the Carolina Textile District for producing personal protective equipment.
35: Rocky Top Catering has partnered with Overflowing Hands, which arranges volunteers, food distribution and fundraising, to help feed over 2,500 students every Monday and Thursday. Donate today, and 100% of the proceeds will go towards this work.
36: Ryleigh’s Voice, an area nonprofit that distributes scrubbed devices such as smartphones and tablets to individuals with disabilities, has stepped up its efforts to connect folks with devices that enable crucial personal interactions (caregivers can apply for devices as well). Donate your dollars or old phones to support their efforts
37: The Simple Greek Restaurant in Raleigh now serves Gyro Hero Bowls for the medical care industry. You can either enjoy one yourself or donate a bowl to be sent to a food drop or local healthcare center. They have also sent meals to Wake Med, Duke Raleigh, the Covid 19 Testing Department at Wake Med and the Cardiology Department at Duke Raleigh.
38: Southern Harvest, the Durham-based hospitality group launched its Love and Nourish 2020 campaign in partnership with The Honeysuckle Farm and Unique Places To Save. When customers buy a Family Pack Meal, designed to feed four people (with plenty of leftovers), over 15% goes to help provide meals to families in need identified by Families Moving Forward, Durham Public School Foundation, and End Hunger Durham.
39: The SPCA of Wake County is bringing the pets to us. Until their facilities are reopened, they are broadcasting a home adopting network via Facebook Live each week that showcases the adoptable pets you could potentially welcome home. Help them continue transforming the lives of deserving animals with your contribution.
40: The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) & SECU Foundation have committed $5 million each to assist nonprofit organizations with pandemic relief and recovery efforts, $2 million of which has gone to Feeding the Carolinas, an alliance of food banks across the state. Join their efforts in tackling food insecurity by visiting their website.
41: Specializing in wardrobe building, StyleFinder Boutique has been hosting Facebook LIVE fashion shows three times per week, with a portion of the sales benefitting different organizations. Recent recipients include the Helene Foundation and the Hope Center at Pullen.
42: STZLIFE, a Durham- and Charlotte-based outdoor apparel company, is making an effort to help small business owners with their “Here for Good” plan, where they print t-shirts designed by local businesses free of charge to sell on their website. Already, over $20,000 has gone to small businesses in the Triangle.
43: With kids out of school and daycare and parents at a loss for how to entertain them, mothers Jean Gray Mohs and Emily Kotecki pooled their talents to create Tin Can Kids. The interactive virtual field trips—anchored by Zoom calls hosted by other parents and their kids—have become a lifeline for many young ones while they’re stuck at home.
44: Union Special Bread is offering customers the chance to pay it forward with two of its menu items: add a loaf of bread or a dozen cookies to your order and they’ll go to an organization working directly with communities in need.
45: Get creative while sheltering in your place: The United Arts Council can help you cultivate your interests with an up-to-date list of virtual offerings from various artists and art organizations. Whether honing your creative writing skills or picking up juggling, there is something for everybody.
46: Dedicated to eradicating poverty and increasing social mobility, the United Way of the Greater Triangle, created a Rapid Response Fund for nonprofits supporting community members with critical resources such as food, childcare, and housing assistance. In its first few weeks, it raised over $900,000, $277,400 of which was distributed in its first round of funding across 26 local nonprofits. Visit their site to donate or apply for funding.
47: Biotech-driven hair care company, Virtue Labs, is taking care of those who take care of us—our hairstylists. They began a relief fund intending to raise over $100,000, all of which will go back to support the salon community. Make a donation to thank those who make us look and feel amazing.
48: Wake County has joined forces with the Capital Area Food Network to create the Wake County & Capital Area Food Network, to help at-risk families access food by releasing a map of various food resource sites in the Wake County area. Just enter your current location or home address, and it will provide simple directions and driving times to the center closest to you.
49: Downtown Raleigh coffee shop, Yellow Dog Bread Company, has made many contributions like donating fresh, artisanal bread once a week to Parkview Manor, a nursing home for low-income seniors and offering free, no-questions-asked Breakfast Boxes for children during the school week. Now, through their Give a Loaf program, they are delivering bread to the South Wilmington Street Center, the Helen Wright Center for Women, and North Raleigh Ministries.
50: While its gyms may be closed, the YMCA of the Triangle has expanded its services to strengthen communities with its Delivering Good mobile service to bring food and critical supplies to families facing challenges—in just one day, they took over 800 cars to gather 40,000 pounds for their deliveries. And, its Camp Hope childcare program is providing much needed services for essential workers. Support their efforts by donating today.