With millions dependent on unemployment benefits and food bank lines reporting record numbers for turn out during food drops. The economic crisis set off by the pandemic has widened the chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the United States in new ways. The expanded rift has been accompanied by an outpouring of donations to local food banks, crowdfunding campaigns and other aid to financially devastated Americans.
The pandemic has shown that many people care about their neighbors and are willing to help. Amazon shareholder Mackenzie Scott’s $4 billion in charitable contributions, announced in December, may be the biggest. But there are plenty of Americans who are also chipping in, donating $10 or $20, some for the first time ever. About 70% of the donations made to campaigns on GoFundMe were under $50 this year, up from 40% in 2019.
Covid 19 Foundations have been established in every state in the US to help communities impacted by the pandemic. Donations to small and mid-sized charitable organizations were up 7.6% in the first nine months of 2020 over 2019. Charities received $2.47 billion in donations on Dec. 1, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving known as GivingTuesday, up 25% from 2019. Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer for GivingTuesday said “People are giving like we’ve never seen before, what we have now is much more collective action.”
America’s Food Fund, started this year, raised over $44 million on GoFundMe, the largest campaign ever on the fundraising website. Long-time programs like the United States Post Office’s Operation Santa, which matches donors with needy families who send letters to a special North Pole address, report unprecedented support.
Across the globe, communities are raising funds for everything from Covid testing sites, necessities for those in need, food banks, helping small businesses, getting medical equipment for front line workers and even transport costs for farmers to get their harvest to hard hit areas hundreds of miles away. There are even people from different states banding together to help families facing eviction like The 1k Project.
GoFundMe itself even partnered with several foundations through their own COVID-19 Relief. They turn donations into grants for people and charities in need. Millions of people don’t know where their next meal will come from and people, even those who don’t have much themselves, are helping. Every donation, big or small, is helping others get through the pandemic.