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Americans Want to Help

April 7, 2020
Weekly Columns

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty, one thing is certain when it comes to Americans. We always come together in times of crisis. When faced with unimaginable difficulty and loss, you can count on Americans to step up and pitch in to help. Amid the unthinkable disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19, I have been greatly encouraged to see Americans rush to the aid of their family, friends, neighbors and communities.

During recent telephone town halls, I’ve been asked often how people can help. If you are wondering how to get involved, I suggest you think first of your friends and neighbors, especially those who are more vulnerable or at risk of serious illness. Something as simple as making a phone call, sending a text or offering to pick up groceries for someone goes a long way in showing you care.

With the cancellation of many blood drives in recent days, there is also a real need for healthy donors to give blood. Even when following strict social distancing guidelines, it is possible to safely donate blood. The U.S. Surgeon General recently said himself, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” If you are able to donate to the essential supply of blood, you can schedule time to do so in your community by checking with the Oklahoma Blood Institute: obi.org.

For some businesses, giving back means repurposing their existing facilities to manufacture urgently needed medical gear and equipment that is in short supply. I was incredibly moved to learn that the Fourth District’s own Covercraft last week reopened its factory in Pauls Valley, bringing in a volunteer workforce to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical gowns and face masks, for our medical workers and health care providers serving on the frontlines. 

Indeed, acts of kindness throughout this crisis are what will help make us stronger in the end. If you are looking for ways to volunteer your time or donate other resources (including medical supplies or equipment), FEMA has great guidance for getting involved and connected at fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

Whether it is businesses shifting gears to fulfill the unforeseen needs of our medical providers or neighbors, families and friends simply checking in on one another, there is a role for each of us. Remember, as we help each other get through this crisis, one of the biggest contributions you can make in the fight is doing your part to slow the spread of this coronavirus. Continue to heed the guidance outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the President’s Coronavirus Task Force (coronavirus.gov) and following the updates provided locally by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (coronavirus.health.ok.gov). That means practicing social distancing, thoroughly and frequently washing your hands, not touching your face and daily disinfecting surfaces.

As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together, know that my office is here to help you get answers and keep you informed. I will regularly be updating my website with new information here: cole.house.gov/coronavirus. You can also call my office at (405) 329-6500.