Mar 23, 2020 10:02 AM

Here's how Kansas can help, volunteer during the pandemic

Posted Mar 23, 2020 10:02 AM
 Patrick Dugan's Coffee House in Garden City is no longer allowing public seating and instead is offering curbside services as businesses grapple to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service
Patrick Dugan's Coffee House in Garden City is no longer allowing public seating and instead is offering curbside services as businesses grapple to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

By CORINNE BOYER, Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — As news of COVID-19 unfolds daily, so does the devastation caused by the virus. And a growing desire to help people hit hardest by the many ripple effects.

Kansa schools have closed for the remainder of the academic year. Small businesses are trying to cut their losses by offering curbside services and fulfilling orders online. Restaurants that didn’t deliver before are learning quickly that they must. Service industry workers, and many others, find themselves stuck at home, unable to earn a living. 

What can you do to help? Here are some ideas: 

  1. Call your neighbors. 

Zach Ahrens with Midland Care Connection, which operates Meals on Wheels in Shawnee, Jefferson and Douglas counties, said calling a neighbor is a start. 

“One of the concerns I have … is the social isolation,” Ahrens said. 

  1. Donate blood. 

Check the Red Cross’s website to search for blood drives near you. Call the organization hosting the blood drive. Regular hours or other details may have changed. Contact local churches because they often host blood drives. 

  1.  Donate to food delivery services for the poor and the elderly or call to volunteer. 

Even if the nonprofit isn’t able to use new volunteers right away, Ahrens said volunteers are a constant need. 

“In our minds, this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon,” Ahrens said. “The need will continue to grow as this progresses.” 

Call 785-232-2044 to donate or volunteer. Donations to Meals on Wheels can be made online at Midland Care Connection’s website.

  1. Volunteer or donate to food banks such as Harvesters.

The food bank based in Topeka and Kansas City serves 26 counties in Kansas and Missouri. Communications Manager Gene Hallinan said Harvesters needs donations. 

“Because of the pandemic, Harvesters is not receiving as much donated food and we're seeing a shortage of volunteers who sort and pack the donated food,” he said. 

For students who want to earn community service hours, the nonprofit needs handmade greeting cards to go in senior food boxes. 

  1. Call 211. 

A call to 211 connects you to United Way — where hundreds of Kansas nonprofits are registered. If you’re able to volunteer from home, but aren’t sure how, call 211. 

Gayle Ausmus, director of United Way of Dodge City, said anyone needing assistance can call. 

“Call 211 if you are in need of food or if you can’t leave your house,” she said. 

If you are able to donate, find your local United Way chapter online or call.

“We don’t want anybody to go hungry,” Ausmus said. “We don’t want anyone to be without shelter.” 

  1. Foster or adopt a pet. 

The Finney County Humane Society is closed to the public. If the shelter reaches capacity, it will begin to euthanize animals. Right now, temporary pet care — fostering a cat or dog in your home — is one of the shelter’s greatest needs. Anyone wanting to adopt can call the shelter to make an appointment. The shelter anticipates that income loss will affect pet owners, so it’s asking for pet food donations to help people keep their pets.

  1. Shop at local businesses online.

Some small businesses may not have an online presence, but buying a gift card over the phone or ordering items or food for pickup can help them stay afloat. 

Haleigh Kells is an owner of the Corner on Main, a gift boutique in Garden City. She said the staff can take orders and payments over the phone, send photos of merchandise to customers and ship purchases. 

“Gift cards are helpful,” Kells said. “Small businesses especially are really worried about how this is going to affect (them) and how they are going to be able to make it without their local customers.” 

Downtown Lawrence is updating its Facebook page with businesses offering curbside pickup.

Corinne Boyer covers western Kansas for High Plains Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @Corinne_boyer or email [email protected]

Continue Reading Hays Post
Mar 23, 2020 10:02 AM
Latest cancellations and delays

Please call (785)-301-2211 to add your cancellation. Leave a voicemail if no one answers. You may also email your cancellation to [email protected]. We will add your cancellation as soon as possible.

Click here for Kansas road conditions.

*All Kansas public and private schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12, are closed through their respective spring semesters by order of the Kansas governor.*

*Kansas has a "stay home" order until at least April 19, 2020.*

April 11

Hays Toy Show postponed

April 12
Eagles Lodge in WaKeeney cancelled the Easter Sunday Chicken Buffet.

April 15

Hays VFW Stag & Stagette canceled

April 16

Hays Job Fair canceled

May 1

FHSU Half-Century Club Spring Luncheon canceled

Annual Chamber Golf Tournament rescheduled for September 18

May 2

Hays Symphony Concert has been canceled

May 3

Hays VFW Stars and Stripes Breakfast canceled

May 11

Hays After 5 dinner meeting canceled

*****

Trego County Courthouse closed to public until further notice.

City of Hays offices closed to public until further notice; airport remains open

Hays Municipal Court appearances suspended through April 6

Ellis City Hall closed to the public until further notice. City employees will still be available on premises during regular office hours and will be available by phone or email. Citizens should utilize the outside drop box, mail, or phone in utility payments.

Victoria City Hall closed to public until further notice

Eagle Media Center in Hays closed until furthur notice.

Doerflers' Harley-Davidson closed until further notice. We will offer curbside service along with motorcycle pickup and drop-off by appointment.

Big Creek Crossing stores closed - click here to see most recent updates

Hays Recreation Commission including the Fitness Center closed through April 30, 2020

Center for Health Improvement at Hays Med closed until further notice.

Hays Chamber canceling/postponing all public events until April 30.

Hays United Methodist Church online services and broadcast on KAYS 94.3 FM and 1400 AM only

Hays North Oak Community Church Activities and services canceled; Online Sunday services at www.northoak.netHays VFW Fish Fries have been canceled though Lent

Hays Public Library closed until further notice

Russell Public Library closed

No bingo at the Heritage Eatery and Bingo in Hays

The Hays Senior center meal site is closed, but will still be offering to go meals and home deliveries to current home delivered customers. To arrange for food call 785-628-8824.

Group meetings for DREAM, Inc. canceled. Clients should call 785-628-6655 to schedule telephone sessions.

Community Assistance Center in Hays will have no shopping available until further notice.

The ARC Thrift Store in Hays closed until further notice.

Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County ReStore closed until further notice; not accepting donations.

Fort Hays State Historic Site closed until further notice.

Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum in Ellis closed until further notice.