Community Engagement Center

How to help during COVID-19

Gustavus students: Have a "drop-in" type question but can't drop into an office right now? Submit your question/concern to the form and we'll get you in touch with the appropriate resource! "Ask a Dean form"

Community members: For those in the Mankato/St. Peter area, the Greater Mankato Area United Way has a website that lists needs because of COVID-19. Please check it out and see if there are ways you can help! Mankato/St. Peter United Way COVID-19 Needs 

We have also set up system to connect Gustavus staff and faculty with Gustavus retirees who might need some assistance during this time. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete this Google Form-Volunteering COVID-19 and Amy will match you. 

Gustavus Retirees: If you are need of any assistance during this time of COVID-19, please complete this Google Form-Retiree Help and let us know. The Gustavus community is here to help you in anyway you need! If you would rather contact us directly, please email Amy Pehrson, Director of the Community Engagement Center at Stay well!

Meals on Wheels in St. Peter - Volunteers are needed to assist Meals on Wheels in delivering food to patrons throughout St. Peter. Transportation is provided by the City transit – your time and energy is all that is needed. If you would like more information, please call 507-934-0667 or sign up directly at Opportunities are Monday-Friday from 10:15-11:45 a.m. Check in at the St. Peter Community Center.

Gustavus Service Programs - Here are some ideas for how to stay engaged during this time:

Also - if you come up with great links others would be interested in, please email Amy ( and she will add them!!

Big Partner/Little Partner and Gustie Buddies:
Become Pen Pals - connect with your Littles/Buddies' parents to get their home address and send letters back and forth. Not only does this help you stay connected to each other, it gives the youth a way to practice writing skills and something to look forward to!

Share links to great websites, and then call/Skype/chat with them about them:

Brookfield Zoo: On Facebook, live chats every day at 11:00 a.m.

American Museum of Natural History: Check out their online resources and tour at (this is the one from the movie Night at the Museum!)

Missouri 4-H: Every day at 3:30, the Missouri 4-H program does a live learning (topics include cooking, animals, etc). Check it out and share with your Little/Buddy. Missouri 4-H Online Learning

Farm Tours: Check out this webpage and go on a virtual farm tour! Virtual Farm Tour

Learn about Minnesota! Go to the Minnesota State Historical Society webpage ( to tour museums, learn about Fort Snelling, do activity pages and more!

Build a House! The Southern Minnesota Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has a contest for kids 5-13 years old to build a house and win Legos! Register online at Habitat Contest - Kids Build a House!, help your little design it and submit it before May 15. Then check out their Facebook page and vote!


In St. Peter, a Grams for Grands program has started. Anyone can send some artwork, cards, letters and other messages to those living in the nursing homes. Those Grams can be mailed to: Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter #GramsForGrands, 1907 Klein Street, St. Peter, MN 56082. Messages can be addressed to specific residents, or sent to Rosemary Bjorklund for general distribution and posting at the center.

While there have been no restrictions for sending or receiving mail, emailing artwork and other creations is also a possibility. Take a photo or scan drawings and letters and email them to Staff will print and share them with residents.

Messages without attachments can also be sent to residents by visiting the “Contact” page at For more information on the program, call Heather Deshayes, 507-931-8545 or visit us on Facebook.

Looking to spread happiness across the country? Love for the Elderly is looking for handwritten letters and cards for those folks living in senior facilities. Please go to their website for information about how to create a card and where to send it. Show the World Gusties that we care!! 

Habitat for Humanity:

Not only is Habitat for Humanity about building houses, it is about advocating for all of those who are home insecure. This means renters, home owners, homeless and anyone who faces these unknowns. Check out Habitat's Advocay webpage to learn more: There are petitions you can sign, ways to contact your congresspeople and representatives who will vote on housing issues. Be informed, be engaged!

In Minnesota, more than 25% of families pay more than they can afford for housing. Check out the info on the Minnesota Housing Partnership ( There is also info on this website about how COVID-19 is affecting the housing situation.

Become familiar with the needs in your own community. Just type in the zip code of the city or click on State to search for affiliates in a certain area.

Housing Heroes! The passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27 was an important step to support workers, families, and nonprofits during this time of economic hardship. But even as federal agencies begin enacting the bill, Congress recognizes that more must be done and is working to develop an additional relief bill. That's where you can help. It is critical that Congress hear from you about the importance of housing stability and support for nonprofits. Email your members of Congress today and tell them that any stimulus package must include resources to ensure housing stability and continuity for nonprofits during these uncertain times. Thank you for joining us in asking legislators to support homeowners and nonprofits during this unprecedented time.

More Help! Congress needs to hear from you for your support of families who are struggling with this global pandemic. Please go here to have your voice heard!!! COVID-19 Housing Help Email to Congress

Gustavus Adolphus College is connected to the Habitat for Humanity South Central Minnesota affiliate.

Pound Pals:

Here are some websites to check out and learn more about:

Minnesota Animal Rights Coalition:

Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare:

If you live in the Minneapolis area and have room in your heart and home, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control is looking for foster homes. Check out their website for more information and application process: Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Fostering

General Ways to Help in this time:

Calling all artists: Looking for a way to help? Need a creative distraction? Getting sick can be lonely and scary. You can help with #GetWellWorld. Here’s how:

1. Create Get Well art, writing, music, performances, etc.
2. Email* your work to
3. You Will Rise will post it at, social media, and share it with hospital patients battling COVID-19.

Get more information here:


Here is a great 5-minute podcast about how to stay engage during COVID: NPR - Civic Engagement during Social Distancing with Eric Lui

From the founder of Girls Who Code, a great TedTalk: Teach girls bravery, not perfection