Delivering prescriptions. Buying gift cards. Ordering out from local restaurants.
There are a million ways that Portlanders are stepping up to support their neighbors. The challenge is keeping up with it all — and knowing how to pitch in or take advantage.
This crowdsourced list includes all the opportunities we’ve learned about so far, organized by category. You can suggest additions by email or Twitter, or by hitting reply to our morning newsletters.
Thanks for helping out, and remember: #WeGotThisPDX 💪
I want to help by…
- Supporting local businesses
- Donating to nonprofits and direct service providers
- Showing up for people in the gig economy
- Volunteering my time or expertise
- Advocating for policy solutions
I need help…
- Taking care of the kids
- Meeting my family’s basic needs
- Keeping my small business or nonprofit afloat
- Getting tested for the coronavirus
I want to support local businesses
Buy a gift card. Small businesses need to keep cash coming in the door to avoid mass layoffs or bankruptcies. You can help by buying a gift card from one of these 400+ Oregon retailers and saving it to use later. If the full spreadsheet is a little overwhelming, here’s a website that has most of the same information.
Order dinner for delivery. Bars and restaurants are officially closed for dine-in service, but you can still make orders for takeout or delivery at these local restaurants. Bonus points if you order with Grubhub, which reached an agreement with Portland officials to suspend the commission fees that it usually charges restaurants. Note: The risk of catching the virus by eating prepared foods appears to be low, but it’s not impossible.
Shop local online. If you feel the urge to buy something on Amazon, do a couple Google searches first to see if you can find it from a local vendor. Here are a few “buy local” ideas to get you started.
Buy your groceries from a co-op or small business. Unlike the big chains, local grocery stores really need our support to stay afloat. Here are just a few we know are open: The People’s Food Co-Op in Southeast Portland, the Alberta Co-Op and Providore Foods in Northeast Portland, Village Market in North Portland, and the Fubonn Supermarket in East Portland.
Donate to the Jade District Covid Relief Fund. Stigma and xenophobia have caused Asian-owned businesses in the Jade District to be hit especially hard by the coronavirus outbreak, and many low-income employees have lost their jobs or seen reduced hours. APANO is trying to raise $20,000 to support these businesses and workers, and so far they’re nearly up to $10k.
Write positive Yelp and Google reviews. For small businesses that make it through this crisis, it’ll be really helpful to have a bunch of new five-star reviews on Yelp and Google.
I want to donate to nonprofits and direct service providers
Buy to-go food containers for Blanchet House. Nonprofit food kitchens like the Founders Cafe at Blanchet House are being forced to temporarily shut down, but they’re still trying to get meals out to people who need them. A donation to Blanchet House can help them buy enough to-go boxes to make that happen.
Drop off supplies and non-perishable foods. The Q Center is accepting soap, hand sanitizer, diapers, non-perishable food, and other supplies at its building on N Mississippi.
Chip in to support foster children. Every Child Oregon is launching a new community effort to help foster families get food and supplies, respite care, and educational support while students are out of school and social services are strained. You can help out by volunteering to donate and drop off supplies in your neighborhood.
Support the Portland Street Medicine team. As a nonprofit that provides free medical care to people without housing, Portland Street Medicine is playing a crucial role right now making sure our most vulnerable neighbors have reliable information and access to care during this crisis.
Contribute to a nonprofit that had to cancel a fundraiser. Nonprofits like the Neighborhood House have missed out on their biggest annual fundraising opportunities. If you know others that have impacted by cancelled fundraisers, let us know and we’ll add them here.
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I want to show up for people in the gig economy
Order delivery and tip well. As mentioned above, Grubhub is waiving the commission fee for restaurants in Portland — but that doesn’t necessarily help the delivery drivers. The best way to support those workers is to add a few extra bucks to your standard tip.
Give your nanny or cleaner paid time off. The new service Alia is one way to offer permanent benefits to domestic workers — but in the meantime, you can also help out any contractors who work for you by allowing them to stay home without skipping a paycheck.
Tip your favorite bartender. Jacqi Ko from Hey Love created a database of 100+ local service industry workers who don’t have jobs right now and could use a virtual tip. The list includes instructions on how you can pay them with Venmo or the Cash App.
Donate to a fund for day laborers. These workers are usually the first to lose income in an economic downturn, and they often face barriers to receiving government benefits. The local nonprofit Voz is trying to fill that gap, but they need to raise another $15k to reach their goal.
I want to volunteer my time or expertise
Host a lunch-and-learn webinar. If you have expertise in personal finance, crisis communication, self-care, or another skill that’s super relevant right now, you’d make a great host for Portland Underground Grad School’s new virtual happy hour series. Email Steph Routh for more details if you’re interested.
Volunteer for Meals on Wheels. The nonprofit says it desperately needs more drivers to make food delivery runs. The shifts take about 90 minutes, and they serve the entire greater Portland area.
Sign up to respond to community needs. The PDX Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network created Google forms to find out how our most vulnerable neighbors need help — and to recruit volunteers to lend them a hand.
I want to advocate for policy solutions
Sign a petition calling for rent freezes. Multnomah County and the City of Portland announced a temporary pause in evictions this week, but they haven’t gone as far as declaring a citywide rent freeze. Here’s the online petition calling for that to happen. It has 21,500 signatures and counting.
Tell your members of Congress to support direct relief to businesses and families. Even Republicans Senators seem to be warming to the idea of a $1000 universal payment to American adults to help people keep up with rent, utilities, mortgage payments, and basic living expenses. Other policy proposals include making direct payments to small businesses to help them stay afloat. If you want to call your members of Congress, here’s a full directory.
I need help with childcare
Find a childcare provider. This crowdsourced list of local childcare providers includes names, rates, availability, and even personal recommendations.
Get them hooked on a good podcast. PDX Parent published a list of kid-friendly podcasts that will help you kill a few hours.
Give them homework. Scholastic is offering free online courses for K-8 students. The curriculum includes up to four weeks of material, and it doesn’t require any sign-up.
I need help meeting my family’s basic needs
Find a free meal. Here’s a full list of food banks and pantries across the Portland area. Portland Public School is also serving free meals to kids at 14 locations this week, but that will end over spring break (March 21-29).
Apply for food assistance. You may be eligible for Oregon’s SNAP food stamp program if you’ve lost your job or experienced reduced hours. The Oregon EBT website can help you figure out if you qualify, or you can call the state’s 2-1-1 hotline.
Find out if you’re eligible for unemployment insurance. Here’s a useful article that explains how to file for unemployment benefits if you’ve lost your job this month. One important note: If the state’s website for filing claims is down, you can also file an unemployment claim by calling 1-877-345-3484.
Request support from PDX Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network. We don’t know exactly who’s behind this group, but we know they have a form that lets people request help getting food or other supplies delivered to their home.
I need help keeping my small business or nonprofit afloat
Make an ask on the BBPDX Switchboard. Business for a Better Portland is using its Switchboard page as a place for business leaders to ask for or offer support. We can definitely endorse it as a great community with lots of people willing to help.
Get free consulting advice. Brand strategist Gina Rau is offering free consultations for businesses that need help thinking about how to pivot to meet the moment. Growth consultant Phillip Ross from PMR:MG says he’s also happy to talk strategy with any local small businesses that need it.
Apply for an Oregon Community Recovery Grant. The Oregon Community Foundation is offering quick-response grants to nonprofits that are “particularly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.” Here are the details on how to apply.
Learn about the Economic Injury Assistance Program. Oregon small businesses may be eligible to receive low-interest loans through Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The first step is reading these guidelines and submitting this one-page worksheet.
I need help getting tested for the coronavirus
Check your symptoms. Here’s a list of common coronavirus symptoms and how they compare to a common cold or flu.
Call your doctor. The first step to getting tested is to call your health care provider and get screened over the phone. If you’re having trouble breathing or experiencing other symptoms that feel life-threatening, call 9-1-1 instead.
Call the state’s 211 number. If you don’t have a primary care physician — or you need answers to other questions about testing — you can call the state’s 2-1-1 line from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily to get free advice.