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VTIPG Response to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)


"When do we go back to normal? That outlook ignores the immense disparities in what different Americans experience as normal. It wastes the rare opportunity to reimagine what a fairer and less vulnerable society might look like."


- Ed Yong, "Our Pandemic Summer" The Atlantic

The Virginia Tech Institute of Policy and Governance works principally with and for vulnerable or disadvantaged populations locally, regionally, nationally and globally.  Mounting evidence during the current pandemic has suggested that the coronavirus is particularly difficult and even deadly for people in low-income jobs who are not able to work from home or to afford adequate healthcare, for our minority populations who have long suffered from documented health disparities and for our many of our nation’s seniors, who are too often marginalized in our society.  For these reasons, we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of ways that all of us can support these and other vulnerable populations in our communities. 

Please check back for updates as new opportunities arise. Likewise, if you have an opportunity you'd like to be included, please contact us at

Homemade masks don't provide the same level of protection as the N-95 masks, but they are helpful in limiting exposure.  Click here for more information.

Cover Up NRV! has set up a system for people to get the masks they make to the people who need them.  Just stop by and hang them on the clotheline at 210 Fourth Street in Radford (Ziplock bags and clothespins are avaialble).  Click here to learn more.

New River Community Action (NRCA) has programs designed to assist local families with food and household supplies, as well as rental and mortgage payment assistance.  Click here to learn more and make a donation.

Feeding Southwest Virginia is also providing meals for communities in the New River and Roanoke Valleys.  Click here to learn more and make a donation.

No Kid Hungry Virginia works to ensure all children have access to the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.  They help families find meal sites near them.  Click here to learn more and make a donation.

The YMCA at Virginia Tech is providing food for kids every afternoon between 3-6 PM.  On their first day of their new initiative, Meals on Main, they distributed 212 meals and 212 snacks.  Click here to make a donation.

In the food industry alone, nearly 7 million food service workers in the United States do not have paid sick leave.  Many restaurants in the New River Valley are open for pick-up and delivery.  If you cannot go out and support small businesses, consider purchasing gift cards that you can give away as gifts or use to shop later.

Volunteering to do simple tasks, such as grocery shopping or helping with yard care, can go a long way for those who are older in your community or who are quarantined due to a compromised immune system.  If you're on social media, you could also create a Facebook group specifically for your neighbors to check in on each other, or join a broader page like Looking Out for Each Other: Montgomery County VA.

This global pandemic is particularly hard on our local immigrant and refugee populations.  You can reach out to the organizations that specialize in this area, whether to donate money or volunteer.  A few to choose from would be: