Coronavirus in Southwest Florida: The latest info, helpful resources

It’s times like these where communities must come together to help each other through times of fear and the unknown. If you are in your house, healthy, and wondering what are some ways you can help, here is a list of local organizations that are in need of volunteers.

Harry Chapin Food Bank

A message on the charitable organization’s website states,“Harry Chapin Food Bank is prepared to do whatever is needed to help ensure that no one will go hungry, especially during this unprecedented crisis. Obviously, this situation is very fluid, and we will do our best to keep you all informed on where you can get food and how you can help.”

The Harry Chapin food banks have been moved to mobile distribution. All volunteers must wear gloves and are only allowed to help out if they have not traveled out of the country. Due to food resources being hindered, there has been a change to the schedule that deals with the mobile food distribution. Click here to see the updated schedule.

For more information on how to get involved, click here to be directed to the “Coronavirus Update” tab on their website.

St. Matthew’s House

St. Matthew’s House is currently accepting donations of all kinds and anticipates an even greater need, in the near future, according to a representative. The organization is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and as of now, operations have not changed much. For more information, click here.

The following are open donation drop-off locations:

2601 Airport Road South, Naples, FL 34112
Monday – Saturday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

13140 Metro Parkway, Fort Myers FL 33966
Monday – Saturday from 9:00AM – 6:00PM

25091 Bernwood Dr. Bonita Springs FL 34134
Monday – Saturday 9:00AM – 5:00PM”

St. Matthew’s House is actively sanitizing their thrift stores and pickup locations to maintain the health of all individuals. To get involved, you can call 239-774-0500 or click here for the information on how to start volunteering.

American Red Cross

According to the American Red Cross Website, “Right now, the American Red Cross encourages healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages. Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.”

Donating blood is still a top priority at the American Red Cross. For more information on how to donate blood or volunteer with American Red Cross click here.

Assist The Elderly

If you are unable to get to any of these locations, there are also things you can do right in your own neighborhood. For the elderly and people with underlying health conditions that can’t make it to the grocery store, be a helping hand and make the trip for them.

Here is a list of places that are opening early for seniors and those most at risk.

  • The Fresh Market: Reserved shopping from 8-9 a.m. Monday – Friday. For more information, click here.
  • Target: The shopping store is reserving the first hour of shopping every Wednesday for “vulnerable guests – elderly and those with underlying health concerns.” For more information, click here. 
  • Dollar General: Is dedicating the first hour of shopping to avoid the crowds, calling it the “Senior Hour.” For more information, click here. 
  • Whole Foods: The grocery store will service customers that are 60 years or older in the first hour of shopping before they open to the public. For more information, click here. 

All around you there are things that can be done to help halt the outbreak and keep people that are most at risk to the virus indoors. Make that run for someone, wash your hands, and above all stay healthy SWFL. We are all in this together!

*This story was written by Sarah Rice. 

Katherine Viloria is Beasley Media Group's Fort Myers Digital Content Manager. She loves to write, snap photos, and watch Grey's Anatomy. Connect with her on Instagram @alittlethisalittlekat