What's The Risk of Holiday Donation Drives?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk of Holiday Donation Drives?

As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of having a donation drive, like for coats or canned food or toys this holiday season?

Their take: a donation drive is low risk.

"So the idea of doing a food drive or clothing drive, I think is still a fantastic one. The virus does not tend to live for long periods of time on surfaces," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, said.

"I think the importance is that you are taking some nonperishable items and donating those. I think that's a great way to pitch in and help people out," Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine, said.

"You can participate in them safely. Precautions should be taken on the other side when they're distributing again to assure that people are engaging in hand hygiene and lowering that risk as much as possible," Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said. 

"Monitoring things closely as far as who's coming in to pick up or deliver or drop off, we can do this safely. We can support each other and we can still really all participate in that idea of giving and generosity this season," Cawcutt said. 

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit