This year, National Volunteer Week falls during April 19-25. But we’re stuck in the house! More than ever, we need each other to make it through this pandemic. The consequences of the country being shut down to keep us safer in the outbreak have been farreaching. Lots of people are losing their jobs. Social distancing is requiring that we stay at least 6 feet away from each other. Those of us who are used to being the “helpers” are forced to stand aside in this crisis. Every contact has the potential to be life-threatening for someone. People who are givers by nature have to keep their hands…and their kindness…to themselves. But guess what?! In these uncertain times, you can be awesome and volunteer from home!
Ways to Volunteer from Home
Traditional volunteer efforts involve going out into the community. Being hands-on is seen as more impactful to the work that needs to be done. Sadly, the state of our communities advises against going out, putting hands on anything or anyone, or being in groups. These restraints can’t stop the goodness from overflowing! One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Rogers is to “…Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Without leaving home, we can still be helpers.
Check-in with your elderly or at-risk neighbors to see what that need. Pick up the items for them when you make your trip to the store. To keep socially distant, drop them off on the doorstep.
Break out the sewing machine
Masks are in desperate need and in short supply. Follow this pattern for an easy way to make masks to keep yourself and your family safe. If you’re really efficient at sewing, you can donate masks to local medical professionals.
Take care of furbabies
Many people who have lost their jobs due to the virus are having trouble feeding and caring for their pets. Donate to a pet food pantry to help pet owners who have lost income.
The upside to being at home is that you have time and space to bring 4 more legs into your home! Animal shelters are also still seeking homes to foster pets until they’re ready for adoption. Check with your local shelter to see if this is something you can do.
Give back when you shop
Online shopping is a huge part of how we’re getting our essentials. Amazon has a program called Amazon Smile that donates a portion of the money you spend on its website to the charity of your choice. Check that your charity of choice is on the level before you give.
Send a smile
Make-A-Wish Foundation works hard to give ill children a chance to enjoy childhood in ways they may not normally be able to do so. Much of their work involves travel; right now travel is not an option, especially with immunocompromised patients. They still need help spreading joy. They are looking for volunteers to create a smile and share it with their patients. Get more info here.
LeBonheur Children’s Hospital has the same mission: to uplift their patients and put smiles on their faces! Get more info on how you can volunteer to make kids smile here.
Support the first responders
Hospital workers, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are just a few of the people who are working on the front lines and helping to take care of us all. Order a meal to be sent to them at work. You’ll do double duty to support small businesses and keep our responders fed.
ways to volunteer from your phone
Give sight to the blind
Be My Eyes is an app that allows you to help the visually impaired. You’ll get an alert when a user needs help to see or identify an item. Each volunteer opportunity only takes about a minute but makes a huge impact.
fight to end world hunger
The United Nations World Food Programme created an app called ShareTheMeal that allows you to feed hungry children all over the world. You can set the amount that you want to donate and even see each person you’re helping. Teaming up to fight world hunger is absolutely possible; round up your friends, form a team, and really show the meaning of teamwork for an incredible cause.
call in with a friendly voice
Meals on Wheels is a national service that provides meals for the elderly population. While it’s not recommended that unhealthy people take meals to such a vulnerable group, you can still volunteer. They also have a part of their program called Telephone Reassurance, which helps to keep them from feeling completely isolated. Check your local provider for more information and how you can help.
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
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