COVID-19 Response

Ways to Help

A guide to helping your community in need

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Community Engagement

icon of a calendarApril 17, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Kelli M. Titus

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As Michiganders close out nearly a month in quarantine, there is still a great need for supplies and assistance as COVID-19 works its way through our community. But how can you help when you’re homebound? We’ve put together a guide to help you help others. Because the only way to get through this crisis, is to get through it together. 

Signup and find more volunteer opportunities at mycovidresponse.orgCOVID Response is a collaboration among several local organizations, including Lighthouse, Pontiac Community Fund and Oakland University.

Sew masks

What you need: prewashed, 100 percent cotton fabric; elastic (if available)

How to make: Christa Koerner, Oakland University costume shop supervisor for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, suggests using this mask tutorial on YouTube, but allowing for a 1/4” seam. “This pattern/video shows how to make fabric ties which is handy since a lot of resources are not available right now,” Koerner explains. “But if someone has 1/8" or 1/4" elastic it is more convenient for the wearer.” Koerner uses a premium muslin for the inside due to the fabric’s tighter weave, and any quilters cotton or broadcloth for the outer layer. She suggests using different colors on the inside and outside so the wearer doesn't mistakenly put it on inside out, potentially causing infection. Additionally, all fabrics should be prewashed because they will need to shrink before the mask is made. Learn more about SMTD's efforts to aid the community.

Where to donate: Mask drop off is available at the Oakland University Oakland Center on Fridays at 3 p.m. or you can arrange a pick up by emailing Diane Baldwin at

Donate food and goods
What is needed:

  • Financial donations. This helps to prevent any potential transmission and to reduce burden on grocery stores that are having difficulty keeping up with inventory.
  • Infant care items such as diapers and formula.

Where to donate: Schedule donations through In an effort to greatly reduce people leaving their homes, The Engagement And Mobilization (TEAM) group, co-chaired by Kevin Corcoran, chief community engagement officer at Oakland University, and Glenn McIntosh, OU’s vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer, is directing individuals to sign up for opportunities and donation deliveries at

Donate Medical Supplies
What is needed:

  • disposable N-95-N-99 respirators (e.g., industrial type disposable respirators, like those sold at hardware stores for painting)
  • PAPR respirators (can be used) and associated components (hoses, hoods, etc.)
  • disposable gloves
  • face shields or goggles
  • aprons
  • shoe covers
  • disposable surgical/procedure masks (no homemade or fabric versions)
  • hand sanitizers or sanitizing wipes

Where to drop off: Collections are by appointment only. Email Cora Hanson, director of Oakland University Environmental Health and Safety, at

Become a Volunteer
How to get started: Register under and select the “I can help” tab to get registered as a volunteer. 

How are you helping your community? Contact us at with your stories of volunteerism and goodwill.

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