8 ways to help your fellow San Antonians during coronavirus pandemic

For starters, limit the potential for spread

Volunteers pack free groceries for distribution to the elderly at Hope Community Services, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New Rochelle, N.Y. State officials have set up a "containment area" in the New York City suburb, where schools and houses of worship are closed within a 1-mile radius of a point near a synagogue where an infected person with coronavirus had attended events. State officials stress it is not a lockdown. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19, or new coronavirus, pandemic has led to many San Antonians and South Texans staying home at the guidance of the federal government and health experts. There may be a sense of helplessness, but there are still several ways to assist the community in this time of need while practicing social distancing to keep safe. Here are some ways to help.

1. Donate to the San Antonio Food Bank or your local food bank

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Last week, the San Antonio Food Bank launched a month-long coronavirus “preparedness and prevention" campaign.

The Food Bank aims to reach as many as 300,000 low-income households in the Food Bank’s southwest Texas service territory with a 14-day supply of food and a coronavirus preparedness kit. This includes care for seniors, children and people who may be out of work due to the pandemic.

A monetary donation is always welcome. According to the San Antonio Food Bank’s website, every $1 donated equals seven meals. The campaign also includes special volunteer shifts. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

2. Give blood

Blood donations across our area have dropped significantly and health officials say the need for donations has reached a critical stage.

KSAT Community partner, University Health System will host a blood drive Friday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Highpoint located at 8401 Datapoint Drive, Suite #175.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center and the City of San Antonio are also holding a 3-day blood drive at the Alamodome this week to help maintain the local blood supply.

The blood drive is being held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Thursday. The Alamodome was chosen as a donation location because it allows for social distancing between donor beds and waiting areas. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

3. Volunteer with Meals on Wheels

Many seniors or people who are homebound depend on Meals on Wheels for food, and the San Antonio chapter is ensuring those individuals continue to get help during this time.

“Staff, volunteers, visitors and anyone who works with or near our food supplies are trained in frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting areas frequently and staying home when ill. We also utilize Lysol to sanitize all surfaces and keep our meals safe.” You can also donate and get more information here.

4. Donate to homeless shelters

People without homes face a significant risk from the novel coronavirus. They generally have poorer health and often have preexisting conditions that leave them with weakened immune systems. Haven for Hope has suspended its volunteer program during the pandemic, but is still accepting monetary donations. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

There are also Texas eviction prevention programs and help for the homeless here.

5. Donate money to a reputable nonprofit or the American Red Cross

Many San Antonio corporations such as H-E-B and USAA have donated money to address the novel coronavirus crisis, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to help. Several reputable charities and non-profits are working around the clock to assist and aid people around the globe, including the American Red Cross. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

6. Order takeout and support local businesses while social distancing

Many local restaurants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but are still offering takeout and delivery or curbside services. Please tip a little extra as many industry workers try to make a living. We have a list of restaurant dining area closures here. Also keep in mind that Culinaria has decided to make San Antonio’s Restaurant Week, which features great meals at fixed prices, available for take out.

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7. Get a flu shot and stay healthy

It seems simple, but a flu shot can make a big difference. There is some confusion over the seasonal flu and novel coronavirus. While getting a flu shot won’t help you battle COVID-19 directly, it might be able to help you avoid the flu, any confusion of symptoms, and help you avoid visiting the hospital. The Texas Dept. of State Health Services has a Flu Vaccine Finder page you can visit.

8. Reach out to family and friends, and please do not hoard groceries

A phone call, text or message to a loved one can make a major difference. Keep in mind you can order curbside or get groceries delivered to a loved one or someone in need online. H-E-B and many other services allow payment online before orders are placed. Also please do not hoard groceries. H-E-B has stated many times they are well stocked as long as customers use their normal shopping practices.

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About the Author

RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

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