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Falcons’ Arthur Blank, Matt Ryan generously support Atlanta coronavirus relief, and you can help, too

It starts with social distancing and self-isolation to flatten the curve, but there’s more you can do to support our local community.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The past couple of weeks have been an unprecedented shift in American life. We’ve all had to make big changes to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

There’s a lot of fear around the virus itself, and that’s understandable. Current data suggests it’s significantly more contagious and deadly than the flu. Immunocompromised people (like me) and the elderly are at greatest risk of complications from the virus, but anyone can be affected. Most of us are staying at home, self-isolating and social distancing to flatten the curve and ensure that our healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed, which could lead to a greatly increased death toll.

But it’s not just the virus that people are worried about. This pandemic has also led to economic instability in the United States. Self-isolating and social distancing are important and necessary, but they’re also doing real economic harm to local businesses and the people whose livelihoods depend on them.

People with the means to help have been stepping up. Arthur Blank is paying hourly employees with Atlanta United, the Falcons, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the shutdown. His foundation has also funded nearly $5.4 million in relief efforts in Georgia and Montana. Matt Ryan donated $100k — half to the Atlanta Food Bank, and half to Giving Kitchen, an organization providing emergency support to foodservice workers. Jamon Brown is facilitating a Go Fund Me to provide economic support to those who need it due to coronavirus in Kentucky, Georgia, and across the country. Brown’s foundation will also be making a contribution.

Our wallets are obviously a little lighter than Arthur Blank’s, but we can still help support the most vulnerable in our communities who will suffer because of this pandemic. Here’s what you can do to help in the greater Atlanta metro area.

Flatten the curve

The sooner we get through this crisis, the better. That’s going to take all of us making sacrifices to slow down the spread of COVID-19. To the extent that you are able, please stay home. Wash your hands thoroughly and consistently. If you must go out for something necessary — your job, groceries, picking up prescriptions, etc. — practice social distancing. The resources below provide accurate information on why these methods are important and how they work.

Support local business

Local restaurants and shops are going to be hit hard financially by this crisis. You can help out in a few ways.

One is to continue to patronize these businesses while also maintaining appropriate social distancing. We all still need to eat, and many restaurants have shifted to offering delivery or takeout with curbside pickup to minimize chances for contact. Here’s a running list of those options in the greater Atlanta metro area.

If you need groceries, consider swinging by a mom and pop store instead of one of the big ones. Consider investing in gift cards for locally owned stores and restaurants that you can use when the pandemic is under control. Eater has a great list of ways that you can help.

Foster a pet

The middle of a global pandemic may not seem like the greatest time to add a pup or cat to your family, but animal rescues are in need of temporary foster homes for animals who are available for adoption. If you want to help, check out the organizations below.

LifeLine Animal Project
Angels Among Us Pet Rescue
Atlanta Humane Society
Paws Atlanta

Give blood

The Red Cross is experience a severe blood shortage and they need donors urgently. If you’re healthy and eligible to give blood, reach out to the Red Cross to make an appointment to donate.

If you’re not in the greater Atlanta metro area, you can still do all of this in your town. If you’re a small business owner or employee who’s struggling because of the pandemic and there are ways folks can help, share those in the comments. If I missed something important, please share that in the comments, too. We’re all in this together.

Be well, and take care of yourselves, Falcoholics.