Good Deeds in Ohio Abound While in Quarantine

Residents aren’t letting the COVID-19 quarantine stop them from lending a hand to those in need

a composite image of people carrying donated food items


Bridget Houlihan


Jan 21, 2021

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Amid the mass shutdowns and self-quarantine, many residents of Ohio may be apprehensive about what the future holds. This is why taking it one day at time is a good practice, and can help you adjust to your new routine. There is a lot to take in with regards to the statistics about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and sometimes it’s hard to see any good news by the end of the day. However, many residents around the world and in Ohio are using this difficult time to show that when you make it a point to help all members of the community, everyone gets stronger together.

We wanted to highlight some of the good deeds that are happening across the state each day while we all deal with the quarantine. If you’re looking for ways to help, make sure to reach out to local volunteer organizations for ways you can get involved!

Help My Neighbor

Keeping Kids Fed

Even though school is out, kids still need a meal

Mothers organize a food drive

Schools across Ohio are closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving many vulnerable children without access to a daily meal. A mother in Plain City decided there was something she could do to help those kids whose families were dealing with food insecurity. She organized a couple of volunteers and created Feed the Kids Columbus, and placed bags on neighbors’ doors asking for donations to help feed kids in local area schools. They have raised thousands of dollars in donations that can be given out to families in need who may have fallen through the cracks.

Feed the Kids Columbus

Her organization is also working to spread this type of community engagement to other areas around Ohio and volunteers and bags of food keep coming in!

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Although local libraries across the state are closed, the Public Library of Cincinnati is still open for those kids who need a meal. There are a couple of locations in the area who provide a curbside delivery for families on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The Cleveland Library is also offering free lunches to kids Monday thru Friday from 3:30-4:30pm

City schools offer lunches

Even though their doors are closed for learning, city schools in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are still making sure children are getting fed. Schools are offering a breakfast and a lunch program for anyone under 18 years of age, regardless if you attend the city schools or not. Although their children can’t attend school, parents are grateful for the continuation of bagged to-go lunches and appreciate schools giving them one less thing to worry about.

Columbus City Schools to offer free meals to anyone 18 and under during school closure

Assisting Those on the Front Line

Helping those who are giving it their all to deal with COVID-19

Restaurants donating food to healthcare workers

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are on the frontlines of battling the COVID-19 virus. They’re risking their own health to make sure members of their community are getting the care that they need. Working long hours and dealing with life and death situations can really take a toll on them-- mentally and physically. Thankfully there are restaurants throughout Ohio who are trying to ease their burden a little by donating and delivering food to those who need it most.

In Cleveland, many restaurants realize they can make a difference in the well-being of those workers in healthcare and have started to donate food. Goldie’s Donuts has started a “dozen for a dozen” campaign. If a customer purchases a dozen donuts, a dozen donuts will be donated to a hospital unannounced.

Goldies Donuts is matching any purchase and donating it to local hospital staff.

On their first day of the campaign they donated over 23 dozen donuts! Cocky’s Bagels is also joining in and for every 60 bagel sandwiches sold, they’ll donate 20 sandwiches to hospitals and nursing homes.

Cocky's has fed over 122 front liners in a day ...

Danny Boy’s Pizza wants to do their part as well and is encouraging the community to get involved with “Pass it on Pizza Day” and when customers purchase a pizza, they’ll get the option to purchase another one for just $5 and have it passed onto an elderly neighbor, healthcare facility, or first responder in need.

Geraci’s Restaurant is giving the gift of pizza to hospitals and healthcare workers, and for $15 any customer can pay for a pizza to be donated and Geraci’s will deliver that pizza plus an additional one for good measure.

You can also help give Essential Meals to Essential Employees with the help of Lago East Bank. When customers purchase meals to donate, they’ll receive 15% back that can be used at Lago East Bank once it reopens. Lago is also going above and beyond and donating meals to those organizations considered essential services as well. The Ohio Pie Co. is helping those in the service industry who have lost their livelihoods with closure of restaurants and bars. Each Monday, they’re offering free pizza for those workers!

Bonificio Restaurant

In Columbus, there are many restaurants who are helping out like Bonificio, who are going above and beyond while they’re closed (but still open for pickup and delivery) by donating lunches and dinners to local Columbus hospitals. In Cincinnati, Pleasantry has donated almost 4,000 meals to hospital workers to help make their days a little more bearable. They also allow customers to purchase a meal for a healthcare worker on their website for only $10, and you can leave a note of encouragement for them too!

Masks for healthcare workers

Another way Ohio has stepped it up for their healthcare workers is by creating or donating masks where they are needed most. Many healthcare workers are anxious about not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe, and it is one extra stress they’re trying to cope with each day. One Columbus woman, Geanine Baylor of Eninaeg Designs, LLC, decided she could do her part by sewing masks for those helping out their communities each day. She sews about 50-75 masks per day, and relies on her network of volunteer friends to help distribute them to first responders and hospitals.

Columbus woman sews dozens of masks a day to donate to healthcare workers, community

In Cincinnati, local sewing and volunteer groups such as Donate a Mask Cincinnati and Sew Masks for Cincy are trying to help deal with the mask shortages. In Columbus, construction companies such as Messer Construction are also answering the call and helping to donate masks. Ohio Health has received 180 masks from them and many others are starting to send in donated masks to hospitals as well.

Looking Out for Those Who Need it Most

Neighbors are looking out for neighbors during this difficult time

Meals on Wheels

The Meals on Wheels programs brings hot meals to the elderly and those that are shut in on a daily basis, and is a wonderful way community organizations can make sure these vulnerable populations are checked on and cared for. In light of the recent social distancing requirements, many of those people that rely upon this service were apprehensive that it might stop altogether, leaving them without a meal and perhaps most importantly, a friendly face. In Columbus, the Meals on Wheels Life Alliance delivers 5,000 meals a day, and its drivers traverse 165 different routes to bring those in the Columbus area a good meal and a word of kindness. Although they have made changes to protect the drivers and delivery people, and changed the way meals are picked up for delivery, they are still getting meals to those in need.

With many people at home, more and more are looking for ways to help their neighbors out. To accommodate this influx of volunteers, this Meals on Wheels program has expanded their training program and it is now offered daily as opposed to twice per month.

Grocery getters

In addition to long time charitable organizations such as Meals on Wheels, many local communities are taking it upon themselves to offer to pick up groceries or prescriptions for their elderly or at-risk neighbors. The Olde Sawmill Civic Organization wanted to help their neighbors in need and so they decided to organize a unit of volunteers who were able to go out and do the essential shopping for those who could not themselves. They set up a way for those who needed items to get in touch with volunteers who were available to make the trip. Many of the elderly and high-risk people in this neighborhood were worried about what to do as far as shopping was concerned, and thankfully their community neighbors were ready to help them out.

Pharmacy and grocery deliveries

Many major pharmacies across Ohio are now offering delivery of prescriptions for those who feel that it is unsafe to leave their house. Groceries can also be arranged for delivery as well through local supermarkets, as well as through apps like Instacart. This is another way to help people stay at home and no longer worry about how they’ll get their groceries for the week.

Zora’s House

When college campuses closed, students were required to go home and the dorms closed behind them. When the creator of Zora’s House--a coworking community space for women of color--LC Johnson heard that a young Ohio State University student who was a resident advisor had nowhere to go she knew there was something she could do. There was room at Zora’s House, as they often have women stay for short periods of time to work on creative projects. So she reached out and arranged for the student and another person coming home from the Peace Corps to stay for an indefinite period of time.

Zora's House

Meeting the Needs of Others

Helping each other get through the quarantine, day by day

Mutual Aid Central Ohio

Sometimes we just need a little help to get through the day. That’s exactly what volunteers had in mind when they organized Mutual Aid Central Ohio, which allows members to request items, and have it fulfilled by local donations. Their Facebook page allows people to request items, or offer items that they may have a surplus of. It’s a great way to spread resources around, especially when many necessary items are in short supply.

Helping service industry workers

After the closure of Ohio bars, restaurants, salons, and other service industries, workers were left without knowing where their next paycheck would come from. For the employees of at least one restaurant, Tommy’s Diner, that question was answered by their customers. After the diner was closed, two of its long-time customers stopped by to drop off a check for $3,000 to help out the staff who can no longer work. Thanks to the kindness of customers who felt like family, the restaurant was able to pay for a week off for its employees.

Customers donate $3,000 for Ohio restaurant staff

Another customer at local Columbus restaurant Coach’s Bar and Grill felt they could pay it forward to staff who were going through some scary times. After they finished their meal, they left a $2,500 tip for staff to split up while they are off of work. This type of kindness is incredible, but it is definitely not surprising to hear from Ohio residents!

As communities are learning to deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 restrictions, more and more are coming together to make sure those in need get a helping hand. These stories are just a sampling of all the good deeds that are happening each and everyday across Ohio. Do you know of a good deed happening in your community? Let us know in the comments!

April 3, 2020
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