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12 Ways to Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Two hands making a heart around the block U logo
Social work is, indisputably, a profession built around caring for and serving others.  So, in a time when one of the most critical ways to care for each other is to distance ourselves, many of our students and colleagues are finding themselves with a bit of a hole in their hearts.  When so many in our communities are feeling isolated, stressed, and afraid, social workers are on the lookout for ways to help. 

Donate Time

  • Give Translation Services: If you are multilingual, you can help Salt Lake City’s refugee and immigrant communities by translating information and resources! To volunteer, contact University Neighborhood Partners’ Paul Kuttner and be sure to include the language(s) that you can translate, as well as your availability (days/times). 
  • Give Mentorship: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah has nearly 100 great kids waiting to be matched with a “Big”! If you can make a minimum of a 12-month commitment, you can apply, interview, train, and get matched, all online!  Until it’s safe to mentor with your new “Little” in-person, BBBSU has lots of great ideas for how to connect remotely. 
  • A child's drawing of a rainbow, flowers, and a deerGive a Delivery: Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid will provide safety training and connections so you can volunteer to drop off food and supplies at the front doors of vulnerable people who are self-quarantining.
  • Give Encouragement: Write a thank you note (or involve your artistic kiddos) and share your appreciation for our healthcare workers and others providing essential services. Share your note as a public post on your social media (tag your favorite providers and clinics), where many can read it from a safe distance. 

Donate Stuff

  • Give Blood: Your blood is free to you and very valuable to those in need! All blood types are helpful, but types O+, O-, and AB- are especially in demand.  Make an appointment with ARUP Blood Services (sole provider for University of Utah hospitals and clinics) or the American Red Cross and make a big difference!
  • A stack of canned soup and chiliGive Food: The Utah Food Bank supports children, adults, and families across the state, including through the Feed U Pantry at the U. Nonperishable foods (and monetary donations) will be put to good use as food insecurity rises during these uncertain times.  Check out their website for drop-off locations, including grocery stores. 
  • Give Good Hygiene: Have a stash of toothbrushes, toothpaste, or soap (or, for that matter, hand sanitizer or tissues)? The Salt Lake Education Foundation will accept them to make emergency hygiene kits!  Drop off your donations at any of three Salt Lake City Community Learning Centers. 
  • Give Clothing and Household Goods: If your self-isolation includes some spring cleaning, donate gently used clothing, books, small appliances, and much more to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. Your donated clothing and items will be sold and used to help fund their statewide mentoring programs.  Visit their website to find your nearest donation center or drop off bin.

Donate Money

If you’re in a position to do so, please make a gift of any amount to your favorite nonprofit!

  • A young man wearing a 3D-printed face shield with a 3D printer and whiteboard in the backgroundGive Crisis Care: Your donation to University of Utah Health will support efforts related to COVID-19 response and crisis care.
  • Give PPE: Employees of the University of Utah’s libraries have all 30 of their 3D printers working to crank out medical grade protective face shields. Your gift will help them make more! 
  • Give Support: A donation to the University of Utah’s Emergency Student Support Fund will help out U students who find themselves in a tough spot due to the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Give Relief: The College of Social Work has setup an additional emergency fund to help social work students struggling to make ends meet (e.g., making rent payments, buying groceries).  Your gift of any amount will provide meaningful relief to our budding social workers.
  • Give Culture: The closure of the University of Utah’s museums and performance venues is having an immediate impact on employees and will have a long-term impact on future programming. Your gift will help support these cultural staples. 

Two red and white University of Utah thank you notes


Since the circumstances and our community responses to this public health crisis are quickly evolving, the status of these opportunities are likely to change.  Please check directly with individual organizations for the latest. 


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Last Updated: 12/12/23