COVID-19 has profoundly laid bare extreme vulnerabilities hidden in plain sight within our society. Some of those exist within the WashU community, many exist in the St. Louis region and, of course, similar vulnerabilities pose challenges globally.
This pandemic has also shown society’s strength and grit. For every vulnerability is a measure of justice as minds come together (virtually, of course) to creatively solve a problem.
At Washington University, it was immediately clear this crisis was going to adversely impact low-income, international, and housing insecure students. Thankfully, the financial well-being of non-salaried contract workers was secured and they are able to remain on the payroll at WashU during this crisis.
Within the St. Louis community, this crisis is having dire effects on low-income individuals and families, individuals experiencing domestic and intimate partner violence at home, the insecurely housed and unhoused, individuals without healthcare, and immigrants or anyone who doesn’t hold US citizenship, jeopardizing their access to emergency social assistance.
Beyond individuals, entire systems will feel significant loss, such as the education system (including bus drivers, sanitation workers, crossing guards), non-union workers, the food and hospitality industry, and farmers and growers who provide food to the restaurants and institutions like Washington University. Finally, there are systems that are experiencing an undue and potentially unsafe burden such as the postal service, grocery services, pharmacies, and medical care services.
In the midst of loss, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty has been community solidarity in the form of immediate resource building, policy advocacy, and community building – and things are moving at an unprecedented speed. There is a new sense of collaboration, creativity, and innovation. As always, in times of hardship, acts of solidarity renew the common good and refresh our deep ties to community.
There are simple and profound ways to take action today from the safety and comfort of your own home. Please review (and share) the resources below to access support you may need or give support where you can. We all have a role to play in this global time of crisis and community.
Washington University Community
- WashU Crisis Response Fund: Donate to WashU’s emergency relief fund to help support the most vulnerable students and staff.
- Washington University COVID-19 Student Needs Response: Post and find emergency resources for WashU students with this crisis spreadsheet, including jobs, food, housing, transportation, support, storage, resource, and requests.
- WUSM Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donation: Donate your lab’s extra PPE — such as masks, gowns, gloves and eyewear — to support frontline health-care workers. Opened cases or other containers are acceptable, but NOT used items.
St. Louis Community
- Relief Funding for STL Restaurants & Businesses: The Gateway Resilience Fund, managed by the St. Louis Community Foundation, will help provide short-term monetary relief to small locally-owned businesses and their employees.
- COVID-19 Regional Response Fund: Also managed by the St. Louis Community Foundation, this fund directs aid to local nonprofit organizations delivering services to people affected by the virus including children, the elderly, and isolated.
- Petition: St. Louis & Missouri COVID Response: Sign a petition addressed to the Missouri state and St. Louis City and County Government asking for specific policies to address: the working poor, the unhoused, police and immigration enforcement, courts, jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers, and people with disabilities and systemic health needs.
- Petition: Emergency Rent and Debt Forgiveness in St. Louis, MO: Sign a petition asking for an immediate moratorium on collecting rent and mortgage for the month of April and forgiveness of interest, late fees, or the owing of that month’s rent in the future, with possible continuation as long as social distancing impacts society.
- Resource Guide: COVID-19 STL & E.STL: Find resources for St. Louis and East St. Louis including a large amount of social service support information for the region.
- Resource Guide: Known & Grown Farmer Support Guide: Find resources for supporting local farmers, growers, and vendors through the purchase of their products.
- Farmer Support Stipend: Donate to small family farmers who are hit hard by farmers market closings, restaurant services cancellations, and other sudden losses of income.
- STL Quarantine Support Facebook group: Find resources and community on this Facebook group made up of individuals who are prepared to volunteer for the community members who need assistance during this crisis.
- STL Community Prep: COVID-19 Facebook group: Find resources and community on this Facebook group designed to bring together ideas and resources for mutual aid, support, and organizing.
- How to Support STL Restaurants Through COVID-19 Facebook group: Find resources and community on this Facebook group created by Feast Magazine for solidarity within the food and hospitality industries. Resource sharing and updates regarding curbside offerings available.
- Resource Guide: Support Local Restaurants and Farmers: Treat yourself to a night in by ordering from any of these local restaurants who are offering curb-side pick up and delivery. BONUS: you will also be supporting the Known & Grown local farmers that they buy from.
- Resource Guide: COVID Illinois and Chicago: Since a large portion of the St. Louis metro region overlaps with the state of Illinois, we’ve included Illinois resources and policies. (Note: While there is a heavy emphasis on the Chicago Metro Area, some apply locally.)
- Resource Guide: Schools & COVID-19: Find a national guide for schooling resources amidst the COVID-19 crisis. This resource guide is managed by a school social worker and WashU graduate.
- Resource Guide: COVID-19 & Undocumented Communities: Find a listing of resources by type and state for undocumented communities. Many resources are relevant across the U.S.
- Resource Guide: Community VS COVID: Find a national resource that has platforms for assistance, resources, and donations.
- Find My Representatives: Find your political representation with this tool if you want to call, write, or simply increase your awareness so you can voice your opinion or concerns regarding city/state/federal policies.
- R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Use this website to monitor and track Congress’ formal legislative documentation of the bill as it moves through the House and Senate and ultimately becomes law.
Know of a good resource? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this list over the coming weeks.
We are also curating local and global news related to Resiliency, Climate and the Environment, which you can access here.
This article was written by Jessie Frank, Student Associate with the Office of Sustainability.