Coronavirus: What you can do to help in the Miami Valley

With the every day lives of so many in the Miami Valley changing overnight due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many residents are asking how they can help.

One way is to make masks for first responders and healthcare workers.

Here are a few more ideas:

· Feeding America offers a way to donate to food banks nationwide. People who want to donate can plug in their zip code to find the nearest donation station.

· Meals on Wheels reported to us earlier this week that thanks to the help of Miami Valley residents, they were able to deliver pet food to seniors in need.

· Are you safely able to shop for those who need it? Reach out to those who may be vulnerable, or in quarantine, and offer to get groceries or other supplies for them. You can work out a way to leave them on their porch with no face-to-face exchange.

· With children home from school, it's an ample time to encourage your children to write cards for seniors who are unable to take visitors

· As a Springfield teacher reported to us earlier this week, "it's a really tough time for those who suffer from memory loss. They don't understand why they don't have visitors." Cards can be delivered to nursing homes or assisted living centers. It's recommended parents check their children's temperatures first and have them wear gloves.

· The American Red Cross reports that several blood drives were canceled due to the Coronavirus, and they are seeing a major shortage of blood.

· The organization is asking healthy people to give blood, but for anyone who recently traveled to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea to wait until 28 days after returning.

· Local grocery stores, like Dorothy Lane Market, are urging customers to hold off on shopping until a couple hours into operation, so that the elderly can get what they need without a crowd who could infect them.

· Owners and workers from local businesses are taking one of the largest financial hits due to the Coronavirus.

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· Additionally, you can help other small businesses by purchasing gift cards online to be used once the quarantine is lifted.

· RELATED: 'Support our friends too:' Local restaurant owner displays menus from other eateries

· Healthcare workers and first responders are at the forefront of the response, putting themselves at risk as leaders worry about the supply of personal protective equipment.

· Across the world, individuals are sewing, knitting, and 3D printing masks, but the biggest challenge is proving what masks are needed and what are effective. What is needed isn't just equipment, it's your support. Some are reportedly being shunned by others trying to avoid exposure. If you know a healthcare worker or first responder, reach out and see what you can do.

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· If you know someone truly struggling, encourage them to reach out to Ohio's Crisis hotline by texting 4HOPE" to 741-741 or calling 877-275-6364.

· RELATED: Young boys visit Kettering grandma through window

· While the state of Ohio has told all non-essential businesses and organizations to close, there are still a lot of people who are essential and need to work. If you have the capacity and can do so safely (take your household temperatures daily), reach out and see what care you can provide to their children.

· If you're a landlord or a bill collector of any kind with the power to do so, you can help those struggling financially by delaying payments. Many landlords have been praised on social media for taking this step.

· And finally, the biggest way all residents can help is by practicing social distancing, and avoiding unnecessary trips outside the home.

· President Trump, Governor DeWine, and our local leaders have all urged the community to do what they can to avoid infecting others, including a stay-at-home order for the state of Ohio.

We want to hear your suggestions for ways the community can help. Please message us on Facebook, or email