Suggestions to Safely Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic


To our generous volunteers:

The current Coronavirus Pandemic is challenging us to protect our own health which also keeps others well. As a result, it has also brought us a new formula for social norms which require distance and isolation from family and friends — and make traditional ways of volunteering and human connection particularly challenging.   As usual, compassionate volunteers are eager to support the frontlines as much as they can. But we will get through this together!



Important Universal Ways to Help All Nonprofits

  • Donate Financial Support: If you were going to give time, give that value in other ways. Resources are needed now more than ever. Help that pet shelter, senior home, or advocacy organization that had to cancel its spring event keep its doors open. If your company gives you paid time off for volunteer time, see if they will convert that to cash to match your donated funds.
  • Donate technology, hardware and software: Get your company involved too. Most nonprofits don’t have these important resources to operate and promote their efforts. Work with your company to donate critical technology if possible.
  • Use Your Voice:  Post on your social network to advocate for them and their cause.
  • Educate Yourself on the Issues:  Awareness of issues and the impact of these environmental forces on our communities is a necessary step for us all to take action, particularly when we transition from emergency response to recovery.

Quick and (Somewhat) Easy Suggestions to Help 

  • Donate Gift Cards from local restaurants, services, and retailers to shelters who house low income individuals, families and seniors, and residential disability facilities. Buy some for yourself and celebrate after life returns to normal.
  • Give Blood – Consult the Red Cross and ask how you will be protected from infection.
  • Be Social to Someone Lonely or in Need– but not in person! Be a friend to a homebound senior.  Reach out to your neighbor, your relatives or your local senior center.  Contact The North Shore Senior Center in Northfield for their suggestions –847-784-6000. Bring meals, groceries, books, etc. Connect via email, phone, Skype or Zoom with your family or a group of friends!
  • Take a Walk with a friend at the same time — but not the same location and route. Then chat on the phone and cheer him or her up while you walk.
  • Prepare Meals:  With CPS closings, many students are left with no breakfast or lunch.  In one community, parents are preparing “Grab and Go” boxes of breakfast and lunch for pick up at a school parking lot.
  • *Clean Out & Donate (when able): Use this time at home to clean out your closets and donate your gently used items to a homeless shelter (see our nonprofit list on this website) or one of the local rummage sales that donate the proceeds to nonprofits. Christ Church Winnetka and Winnetka Congregational Church. Please check their sites for updates on sales. But don’t stop that closet cleaning!
  • *Note: We have learned the drop-offs locations for these Rummage Sales are closed for a while to keep support staff and others safe with so much inventory. Continue your tidying, but consider putting your donations aside for a bit. Keep checking with the sales for drop off instructions and the actual Rummage Sale dates as they most likely will change as well.



Please support our nonprofit partners –There are many ways volunteers can continue to safely provide help and support

The Volunteer Center of N.E. Metro Chicago contacted its nonprofit partners (featured on this website) to see if they needed any support from volunteers to help them continue their unique missions. You may find additional information about each of these nonprofits by visiting this page on our website. Whether it is financial support, food or clothing donations, meal deliveries or safe social and educational connections, below is what we have heard so far. Please contact us – if you are aware of additional needs and nonprofits that could use volunteer help and other important assistance. We will continue to update this Guide as new needs are posted.




URGENT NEED ASAP!  Great project to share with your family, friends and service groups. The Volunteer Center is responding to a volunteer who lives on the North Shore who has many family members working in the ER and on the front lines in hospitals and other medical facilities who still are in urgent need of additional PPE equipment – specifically masks and surgical caps. They are eager to receive purchased or DIY fashioned coverings for multiple uses. The Volunteer Center is helping her enlist volunteers to make the equipment. There is a minimum goal of 300 masks and 150 caps. She has identified the facilities that need them and will deliver as the VC hands them off to her. If the goal is exceeded, we will deliver to additional needs.



If you have a favorite DIY pattern, use it. If not, try these:

Face Mask with Pocket from T-shirt

Easy no sew, no elastic

To make caps, DIY Easy Scrub Caps

RESOURCES for Masks to Purchase:

9 Retailer fabric masks to purchase

N95 masks for purchase – will arrive by Monday, April 27th


The Glencoe, Keilworth, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka Public Safety Departments have generously agreed to serve as drop-off facilities for your PPE donations.

Glencoe: drop off box inside their Public Safety vestibule located at 325 Hazel Avenue in Glencoe

Kenilworth: 419 Richmond, Kenilworth Police Station vestibule

Northfield: 1800 Winnetka Road, Northfield in front of the Fire station under the canopy by the US flag drop off box.

Wilmette: Wilmette Police Dept, 710 Ridge Road.

Winnetka: drop off box inside their vestibule located at 410 Green Bay Road in Winnetka

ALONE.TOGETHER. Let’s Make a Difference and Get This Done! More details –


Lawrence Hall

NEW Group Service Project Opportunity. The Lawrence Hall youth and families of our DCFS, Foster Care, Transitional Living and residential youth are in need of some supplies and items. We would love if some volunteers can assemble care packages for them. We ask that all care packages MUST be pre-made/prepackaged before drop off. All drop offs MUST be scheduled and set for a specific date and time. Some of the care packages are broken down below:

Transitional/Independent Living 
• Extra cleaning supplies, soap and food for TLP youth

• Games, books, headphones, and food for community youth

Hygiene bags and Food bags  Hygiene Bags ▪ Toothbrush/Toothpaste ▪ Deodorant ▪ Carmex/ChapStick ▪ Kleenex ▪ Soap ▪ Hand Sanitizer ▪ 8 pr. Rubber Gloves

Food Bags  ▪ Microwave Popcorn ▪ Tuna Kit ▪ Microwavable Rice Bowl ▪ Pringles Potato Chips ▪ Fruit Cup ▪ (2) Rice Krispies Treats ▪ (1) Bowl of Cereal ▪ (6) Packages of Instant Oatmeal

  • activities for the youth to do while not in school: books, games, portable DVD players
  • medical supplies as needed

Foster Care

  • Supplies: masks, vinyl gloves, hand sanitizer, and child friendly wipes
  • Games for children, art supplies


  • Games, snacks, food for the youth and staff on residential units
  • Care packages for the staff and their families who might find themselves in need during this time
  • Incentive gifts for direct care staff (ie gift cards)
  • yardwork/garden/flowerbed planting

Please contact Lawrence Hall – Monique Davis ( to coordinate a date and time to drop-off care packages in bulk! All drop offs will be at our Main Campus location.

Good News Partners

If you’re in a low risk situation, this link will take you to a form where we have several opportunities to volunteer with some of our elderly and other high-risk residents: picking up groceries or medication, helping with cleaning, or even just giving them a call a few times a week to check in and chat.

If you have stable income, this link will take you to a page where you can donate specifically to help with the cost of rent for those in our community who have been furloughed or lost their jobs because of the safety precautions enacted.  We thank you in advance for any and all ways you can help.


Lambs Farm

At Lambs Farm, we currently need PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies for our staff to use while caring for participants. If volunteers are asking how they can help, please forward this request.
Lambs Farms needs: gloves, goggles, gowns, alcohol, thermometers.
Please send supplies directly to: Lambs Farm, Attn Vicky Raier or Katie Bouwens, 14245 Rockland Road, Libertyville, IL 60048


Masks needed. If you (or anyone you know) is able to sew, here are instructions on how to sew a mask. We have the filter inserts, but we do need help sewing these masks.  If you are able to help with the masks, please let Shama Valame know by e-mailing her at  The mask can be dropped off or shipped to 1815 W. Central Rd. Arlington Heights IL. 60005. Thank you!!


Center for Enriched Living

Make a personal connection with Center for Enriched Living (CEL) members and make a real difference in their lives with CEL’s #PanPals.Many of these members have limited interaction with family members on a regular basis, and with the Coronavirus that has been compounded. With CEL’s programs transitioning to virtual, they now don’t have access to the friends and support they rely on.

Simply click and choose a member (or members) to send a letter, card or picture to and let them know you’re thinking of them. You can also support our efforts to combat social isolation and keep our members connected by donating here.  Your gifts are what allow our staff to keep working so they can deliver virtual programs for those with online access.

New Trier Township Food Pantry
793 Elm Street, Winnetka, 60093 847-446-8203

URGENT NEED! Our local New Trier Township pantry has a very diminished stock of food and paper supplies. Now more than ever, pantry users are in need of help. The pantry is eager to continue to serve these families in need. Donations of either checks or cash will help pantry staff purchase exactly what is needed. Checks should be addressed to New Trier Township Angel Fund, Inc.. Or, donate any non-perishable foods and paper goods MTW &F (closed Thursdays) between 10am and 2pm. As the township offices are on lock-down, you must call Brian Leverenz in advance 847-446-8203 and set up a drop off. Something you could also do is organize a food drive with your friends and neighbors. Leave a note at your neighbors’ giving them a specific day and time you will pick up donations and then set up with Brian Leverenz the date and time you will drop off. Terrific family project while you’re all homebound together. Plan it out!


Counseling Center of the North Shore (CCNS)
992 1/2 Green Bay Rd, Winnetka, IL 60093 (847) 446-7787

The Counseling Center of the North Shore’s clinical staff is operating remotely, proving telehealth therapy sessions via HIPAA-compliant videoconference and telephone ( However, the Winnetka Thrift Shop, the primary source of funding for CCNS, is temporarily closed. You can support CCNS in two ways: 1. Make a donation online at, and 2. Purchase Winnetka Thrift Shop items online at,, and soon the Winnetka Thrift Shop’s online store. Information at


Beacon Place
603 S. McAlister, Waukegan, IL  (847) 497-5787

We are collecting food right now to distribute to our families here in Waukegan. With the shutdown of restaurants and bars, many of our families are not going to be paid for several weeks.  We are in need of shelf stable food like canned goods, pasta, rice, beans, etc.  All donations can be dropped off at our center located at 603 S. McAlister, Waukegan, IL p.(847) 497-5787

If anyone has any questions they may call Barbara LaFasto, Co-Founder of Beacon Place (847) 609-6768.


Family Focus of Evanston
2010 Dewey Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201 847.475.7570

IMMEDIATE NEED – Help Line of Technical Support for parents in their after school program who are struggling with e-learning – either access or knowing what to do. Looking for volunteers who could form an online help resource.

Our early childhood team and DCFS team are receiving calls from families who have lost their jobs or hours have been severely cut who are in desperate

need of diapers, formula, food. They are loading their cars with what we have on hand and making deliveries. We could use some help with the purchasing and delivering of these items. Our teams are getting worn out. Colette Allen. Director of Evanston, Family Focus – Evanston, 2010 Dewey Avenue, Evanston IL, 60201, Ph: 847.475.7570


Meals on Wheels

Currently our greatest needs are donations of hand sanitizer and financial support. Please consider a gift of either. If you are able to help with hand sanitizer please call our office (we are working remotely – calls are being forwarded to the Volunteer Coordinator at 847-316-1337 to make arrangements for drop off. If you are able to assist with a monetary gift please go to our website


Bernie’s Book Bank
917 N Shore Dr, Lake Bluff, IL 60044 (847) 780-7323

Use your time at home to sort through children’s books (ages birth through 6th grade) that you no longer need and donate to Bernie’s Book Bank


A Just Harvest

A Just Harvest is not open for sit down meals and has suspended its food pantry until further notice. Volunteer orientations are also suspended.With the help of our partners, our nightly hot meal is being offered “to-go” from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.This also means that opportunities for on-site volunteers are greatly reduced at this time.

**HOWEVER, we could use help in the purchasing, ordering and/or delivering of supplies. (please find LIST here). Financial gifts are crucial in sustaining our work in this crisis. (please DONATE here).


The Sports Shed

Due to the COVID-19 situation and the NCAA Tournament cancelation, the Sports Shed Bracket Challenge has been cancelled. We are thinking of all athletes and families who are facing sickness, disappointment and hardship at this time.  If you would like to still donate to make summer AAU basketball possible for girls in programs like Lady Reign Basketball please do so below.

Lady Reign gives 80 girls on six teams the opportunity to compete in tournaments that set them up for higher level of play and possible scholarship opportunities.


Refugee One

Refugee One is doing everything it can to help families navigate healthcare, mitigate loss of wages, and remain in their homes. Meanwhile, we continue offering our regular services to the fullest extent possible while staff works remotely. Visit our website to learn how we’re supporting refugees impacted by the virus.You’ll also find resources for volunteers and information about how you can help.
Refugee One has no doubt our community will weather this storm together. They’ve already been so encouraged by the way friends like you are stepping up to support refugees at this time. However, your support is needed to ease the burdens of refugees experiencing the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19. Please consider a gift today.


The Josselyn Center
847-441-5600 x 1

Affordable Tele-Mental Health Services. We are here for you by Zoom or phone: Call 847-441-5600 x 1 to schedule an appointment. Tele-psychiatry • Tele-therapy-Case management • The Living Room (ages 18+) • Supported employment (ages 18+)

Our Living Room is a free service staffed by Peer Specialists. To talk with our Peer Specialists, call 847-496-3170 Monday-Friday between 9am – 5pm and Saturday 9am – 2pm.Josselyn accepts Medicaid, Medicare, most private insurance, and we have a sliding fee scale. If you have other medical questions, please consult with your primary care physician or pediatrician.


Setting Up Zoom info:

Thank you Women’s Exchange  for this Zoom help: Click Here for a Helpful YouTube re: Using Zoom

Tips and Technology Suggestions for Working at Home and More from Executive Service Corps

Supporting Families During COVID-19

World Health Organization

What to do if you have been exposed:


Thank you for your kindness and generosity —  and for your participation in our volunteer community.
Stay healthy and safe.