Updated: January 25, 2023
At some point in the near future, many people in the U.S. will be receiving money from the federal government as part of a $2 trillion stimulus deal passed at the end of March to combat the financial burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Individuals who earn up to $75,000 annually will receive $1,200, the same amount as essential workers who are risking their lives on the front lines of the pandemic at an average of $13.50 an hour. The payments get smaller if you make more than $75k, and if you make more than $99k you won’t get a check at all.
But many people struggling as a result of the pandemic will receive far less than they need. The number of people filing for unemployment has reached a record high, and many—like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called the payments “crumbs for our families”—have argued that the single-issue $1,200 payments are not enough for many people to subsist on for the remainder of the pandemic. Meanwhile, some people will receive nothing at all, like the undocumented essential workers who are at a high risk of contracting the virus.
A number of funds have sprung up for some of the most overlooked groups during this crisis. We’ll keep this list updated as more materialize.
Donate money to nannies, cleaners, and care workers via the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Coronavirus Care Fund
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) fights for labor protections for domestic workers—nannies, house cleaners, care workers, and more—the majority of whom are immigrants and/or women of color. Their Coronavirus Care Fund provides $400 to domestic workers experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic. You can apply or donate here.
Restaurant workers, drivers, and delivery people are getting help from the One Fair Wage Emergency Fund
One Fair Wage is an organization that campaigns for a full and fair minimum wage for tipped workers and service workers. Recognizing that tipped and service workers are among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, their Emergency Fund is raising money to provide restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more with cash assistance during the crisis. You can apply or donate here.
Homeless women get necessities from I Support The Girls
I Support The Girls is an organization that collects and distributes necessities like bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products to women experiencing homelessness. Their latest campaign, #PeriodsDontStopForPandemics, specifically aims to provide people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic with menstrual products. You can donate here.
Give to sex workers via No Justice No Pride
No Justice No Pride is a Washington, D.C.-based collective of organizers and activists working to bring the LGBTQ movement back to its radical roots. During the COVID-19 crisis, they’re raising money for sex workers in the DMV whose livelihoods have been gravely hurt by the pandemic. The fund provides sex workers in the area, many of whom are trans women and/or women of color, with food, shelter, access to hygiene sanitation, and more. You can donate here.
Survived and Punished supports incarcerated survivors of domestic abuse
Survived and Punished is a national coalition that works to end the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence. With the Rikers Island jail complex now harboring the highest density of COVID-19 infections in the entire world, the organization is one of many groups fighting for the release of people behind bars who are unable to self isolate with the hashtag #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth.
The New York chapter of the organization is currently working with the Inside/Outside Soap Brigade to donate soap and other hygiene products to incarcerated people during the pandemic. You can donate to that effort here. You can donate to the organization’s broader efforts here.
Never Again Action is working to free immigrants from ICE detention
Never Again Action is an organization of Jewish activists working to free immigrants from ICE detention. During the pandemic, they’ve doubled down on their efforts in recognition of the heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 faced by detained immigrants inside ICE facilities where health and sanitary conditions were already dismal. They’ve since held several no-contact protests across the country. Donate to Never Again Action here.
Push back on pandemic-related abortion restrictions via the National Network of Abortion Funds
The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) is a network of grassroots funds that helps cover cost barriers to abortion. This is especially relevant now, as conservative politicians use COVID-19 to further restrict access to abortion by labeling them as “non-essential” medical procedures. For people seeking abortion in those states, this means that travel, child care, and other abortion expenses have also increased in cost. You can donate to NNAF here.
Choose other funds or volunteer via While At Home
While At Home is a resource that allows you to find and choose where and how you’d like to help frontline workers during the pandemic. The site allows users to click on a state and directly donate to or volunteer with organizations working on specific needs in that area. Learn how you can help in your state here.