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Expert Advice

How to support people who are struggling financially during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in profound and unprecedented ways. Most if not all of us are worried about someone we love—whether it’s a relative, a friend, or our community as a whole.

In the face of this crisis, it’s important to remember that even the smallest acts of care can make a difference. We’ve compiled the tips and resources below to help you find simple, concrete ways to take action.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a financial crisis for millions of families. Many people have lost jobs and health insurance, and those who were already without adequate food, housing, or health care are now at even higher risk. Low-income children are especially vulnerable, since school closures have disrupted free lunch programs and other services.

If you have the means to give financially at this time, consider donating to your local food bank or to a nonprofit (such as United Way) that’s helping lower-income people cover rent payments and other basic needs. Some of these organizations may also have physically distanced volunteer opportunities; call or check their websites for details.

You can also offer emotional support to loved ones who’ve lost jobs or are struggling financially. Start by simply reaching out to let them know you’ll be there for them in any way you can. Many people anchor their identities in their work and income, so this is the time to emphasize to your loved one that they’re cherished and valuable no matter what. Remind them of their core strengths, and highlight the small things they do each day to contribute to their family and community. If they are experiencing severe financial hardship and struggling to meet basic needs, you can direct them to resources like United Way’s 211 helpline for information on government programs, discounted services, and nonprofit initiatives that may be able to help.

Here are some additional resources to help you support people who are financially insecure: