This month, we are doing something a little different on our website. City orders to encourage social distancing, slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect residents have dealt a blow to the local economy.
Some local businesses have started new efforts to keep their neighbors healthy and help those in need. We are highlighting some of those efforts, but there are surely more in the community. If you know of a local business that is working to help the community get through this dark time, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 1. AGE of Central Texas, a nonprofit that supports the area's eldery population and their caregivers at 3710 Cedar St., Austin, released a list of at-home resources for older adults. With stay-at-home orders affecting access to support programs for seniors, caregivers are "struggling to keep their older family member engaged while allowing personal time for themselves," according to the nonprofit. At-home activities include guided online videos, word searches, reading, puzzles and watching old movies. More information can be found here. 512-451-4611. www.ageofcentraltx.org
2. Austin's Couch Potatoes, which has a location at 7521 N. Lamar Blvd., is offering at-home sewing kits for those who want to sew masks for the community. Beginning in late March, the local store ceased furniture production and began creating masks and gowns to cover shortages. Now, the store is looking for volunteers to help create 1,500 maks and 6,000 gowns using the at-home kits. Austin's Couch Potatoes said the goal is for each volunteer to sew 50 masks at home using the kits—the store arranges dropping off materials and picking up the masks.
3. After the city and county requested all residents wear protective masks when in public, Austin Disaster Relief Network launched a drive aimed at collecting 20,000 homemade face masks at its headquarters, 1122 E. 51st St., Austin. Once the made-at-home masks are collected, the city and Capital Area Medical Operations Center will distribute them to caregivers and essential personnel throughout the area. 512-428-6322. www.adm.org
4. Baylor Scott & White launched its Food for Caregivers campaign on April 7, a fundraising campaign to buy meals for healthcare workers at Baylor Scott & White Medical Centers throughout the region. Participating restaurants include Austin-based restaurant chains Chi'lantro and Torchy's Tacos, as well as Brooklyn Breakfast Shop, La Taviata, Steiner Ranch Steakhouse and more. Baylor Scott & White has a clinic in downtown Austin at 200 E. Cesar Chavez St., Ste. G240, Austin. 512-654-4100. www.ctxfoundation.bswhealth.com/food4caregivers
5. More than 60 Domino's Pizza stores in Austin will give away 200 pizzas to those in need—a total of 12,800 pizzas donated in the Austin area. The pizzas will go to hospitals medical centers, health departments, grocery store workers, children and families. There are eight Domino's locations in Central Austin. www.dominos.com
6. Grande Communications is offering free internet and WiFi for 60 days to all low-income households who sign up for the company's Internet First program—which offers internet services for $9.95 per month to qualifying families. In addition, Grande Communicatinos said it will not terminate service to any customer because of an inability to pay bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. The internet company has an office at 911 W. Anderson Lane, Ste. 123, Austin. 512-220-4600. www.mygrande.com
7. Hopdoddy Burger Bar, which has three locations in Central Austin, will donate a burger to a health care worker for every burger customers buy with the promo code "Buy1Give1." Customers can also donate a burger to a health care worker for $5. All of the burger restaurant's locations are open for to-go orders and delivery. www.hopdoddy.com
8. I Live Here I Give Here, headquartered at 1310 S. First St., Ste. 210, Austin, is encouraging community members to make a donation to a local nonprofit organization on May 5. The effort is part of Giving Tuesday Now, a collaboration with communities in 65 countries around the world to support nonprofit organizations as a response to the need caused by the coronavirus. The effort is an extension of Giving Tuesday—a campaign to support nonprofits the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year. 512-717-4190. www.ilivehereigivehere.org
9. Pathway Vet Alliance, an Austin-based company that operates 275 veterinary hospitals throughout the country, is encouraging its locations to donate ventilators to hospitals. According to a media release from Pathway Vet Alliance, not all its vet hospitals have ventilators that humans can use, but many do. The company's headquarters are located at 800 W. Cesar Chavez St. in Austin. 512-828-7255. www.pathwayvets.com
10. St. David's HealthCare announced the launch of HeroCare April 6, a campaign for community memes to show appreciation for health care workers. St. David's is providing downloadable graphics that can be printed and put on a door, car window, or shop window for an essential business. The campaign also provides ideas such as stringing lights in the shape of a heart on to display in a home or sharing messages of appreciation on social media. St. David's Medical Center is locales at 919 E. 32nd St., Austin. 512-544-7111. www.stdavids.com/covid-19/herocare.dot
11. Waterloo Sparking Water is donating to food banks across the country, including 400 cases of sparkling water donated in the Austin area. The company also donated to food banks in Dallas and Houston, as well as locations in California and New York. Each case contains 24 Waterloo cans. 866-568-3566. www.drinkwaterloo.com
12. Wheatsville Co-Op increased pay rates by $2 per hour for all its employees other than senior management dating back to March 16 at both its Austin locations, 3101 Guadlupe St. and 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. Both locations have been operating with reduced hours since mid-March and are open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. From 9-10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the stores are open for seniors and high-risk shoppers. Other local and national retailers, including H-E-B, Randalls and Target have increased employee pay as well. 512-478-2667. www.wheatsville.coop