Four Ways You Can Help Others During the Pandemic

Want to help others during the pandemic but don't know how? Here are four charities you can donate to to support others during this crisis.

Sinead McCausland
April 10, 2020

You may be feeling helpless during these unprecedented times, but there are ways you can help from the comfort (or, now, discomfort) of your own sofa. 

Below we have compiled a list of four US and French charities you can donate to and support.

In an effort to align the charities with our programming, these charities provide support to the most vulnerable women and to women’s hospitals, to the essential workers on the frontline, and to doctors supporting refugees. 

1. Médecins sans frontiers

In the autumn of 2018 and summer of 2019, Craig Spencer visited us to give two talks on his work protecting migrants and refugees across the world. Now, Spencer is fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic as an ER doctor in New York. Medecins sans frontiere are now on the frontline of both the refugee crisis and the pandemic. You can support them by donating here.

In the US, you can also donate to the UNHCR as part of their Protect Refugees from Coronavirus fund


2. La Maison des Femmes

Our programming centres heavily on women’s rights, one of our most standout moments being when Ghada Hatem-Gantzer of La Maison des Femmes visited us as part of the CHCI Medical Humanities conference to speak about her women’s health clinic. You can now directly support La Maison des Femmes as they help the most vulnerable women during this crisis, and ensure women have access to abortion, at this link.


3. Protecting women against domestic violence

Victims of domestic abuse and violence are particularly vulnerable during this time. In Texas, March saw a 35% increase in domestic abuse cases; Police in Seattle saw a 21% increase in domestic abuse reports. In France, domestic abuse reports have spiked by 30%. To help, in the US you can donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s COVID-19 response.

In France, you can donate here to the women’s centre, Fondation des femmes

And if you want to learn more about how COVID-19 affects women’s rights, Columbia Law School is hosting a virtual events series on advancing human rights during the pandemic. You can find out more here.


4. Supporting key workers

You can support key workers on the frontline during this crisis. Feeding America, who deliver food to those living in poverty, have a coronavirus fund here

In Paris, Serve the City Paris are working tirelessly to ensure those most vulnerable in the city are getting the food they need, as well as ensuring their volunteers have all of the PPE necessary to fulfil their vital roles. Donate to their Paris strand here. You can find and donate to their other strands here

Read this article from Columbia News to see how Columbia students are mobilizing to help frontline health care workers and their community.


Bonus: If you have recovered from COVID-19, you can donate your blood plasma to Columbia University as part of a clinical trial. Find out more here.

If you work in the arts, you can find artist resources from Columbia's School of the Arts here

Columbia University Engineering School is encouraging its students and anyone with the resources to take part in their ventilator making challenge. If you'd like to take part, follow this link. 

And remember: the most helpful thing you can do is to stay at home and wash your hands.