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The Need to Help and Help Is Needed
Note: This post is for those who know they have a bit of time (or maybe a little more) that they are wanting to give to their community in some way, but just need a little extra help to find a fit.
I am a member of a small group that generally meets once a month to support one another. (The type of group isn’t important for this particular post, but I did want to acknowledge where this idea came from.)
Our group met in a COVID-safe way this past weekend, and while we were sharing with one another, I noticed that several members of our group talked about wanting to do more to be of service right now, but just had no idea where to start.
Several members of this group are retirees and so they are finding themselves with more time now than they used to have and unable to do some of the things that were so meaningful to them prior to COVID, including the ways they used to volunteer and serve.
When I looked around the group I saw beautiful souls with hearts of service longing to help and do their part in their communities but overwhelmed and stuck with where to start.
I imagine they are not alone in how they are feeling.
Maybe you are someone who just isn’t as used to navigating the internet and don’t know where to even start to find a COVID-safe volunteer opportunity.
Or, you are just overwhelmed with all you are now having to do online and don’t have the energy to find the right-fit way to help in this moment.
Or, you want to find a volunteer opportunity for yourself or your child or your partner, and while it is important, it just hasn’t made the top of your list because you are so focused on the day-to-day.
Or, you have been so emotionally overloaded because of all that is going on in the world right now, and you want to help, but you just need someone to point you in a direction so you can go do the work now and not spend a ton of time researching.
Or, whatever else it may be. I wanted to pull together some options and opportunities where you can go directly to the link and get started.
The reality is that so many people want to help and there is an enormous amount of help needed in your own community right now. Every action you take to help in your community matters. It fills your cup and the cups of so many others.
There are more volunteer opportunities out there than will ever be filled. Volunteer for a cause that matters deeply to you. Your community needs you and your support and you need the fulfillment that comes with being of service. It really does feel good to know you made a difference. And make no mistake, that one tiny action does make a difference.
Below are some places you might want to take a look if you are looking for a way to volunteer your time or help a retiree in your life find volunteer work or get your kids involved or you're part of a group that wants to give back:
Volunteer Match - You may just want to go here and stop reading this post now. This site will link you up with volunteer opportunities in your area and there are plenty of COVID-safe ways to volunteer. You can volunteer in person or virtually in thousands of ways.
Volunteer with the VA - Like many organizations right now the VA is still greatly in need of volunteers and they have implemented procedures to keep everyone safe during COVID. There are so many ways that veterans are in need of help right now.
Volunteer with the Red Cross - Volunteering at blood drives and shelters, both of which are greatly in need of support right now. Also, if you have been a healthcare worker they are always in need of your help. There are other opportunities, as well.
Volunteer with United Way - There is a United Way in many communities, so just find yours here. They have needs from helping kids with education, to trash clean up, to food services, to helping with disaster preparedness, to prisoner support services, and so much more.
Volunteer at Feeding America - One thing that has become very clear during this time of crisis is just how many of our fellow citizens are relying on food and meals from food banks. You can volunteer to collect food, deliver to those in need, and even volunteer from home.
Volunteer for the Center for Racial Justice in Education - The Center for Racial Justice in Education is always looking for support from the community. Their mission is helping educators to dismantle patterns of racism and injustice in schools and our communities. Through training and other programs they are working to get this work out to educators of all types, from schools to community organizations to parents.
Volunteer with Youth Service America - This is an incredible site for kids of all ages to find volunteer opportunities for causes from hunger to fighting racism to voting to supporting essential workers and so much more. If you’re a parent looking for a great opportunity this “school year” for your child to spend some of their time on helping the community this is a great place to look.
Volunteer with Senior Corps - Many of us are familiar with Americorps. Senior Corps is an offshoot of this specifically for those 55 and older to find volunteer opportunities in their communities from tutoring and mentoring youth to assisting the elderly to disaster relief. Take those amazing skills you’ve learned throughout your life and put them to good use for those who need it most.
This is only a small list of possible places to find volunteer work. It is in no way exhaustive or comprehensive. Those above are national sites that can link you up with volunteer opportunities close to home. Please know that most towns, cities, and regions have sites, as well. For instance, here in Portland, Oregon there is Hands on Portland.
I realize that this post may only be helpful for a few people and that is OK. It’s not meant for everyone. If it helps just a few people find an opportunity to help in their community in some way, I am more than happy and excited about that. Every little thing we do to help build our communities matters.
I also want to lovingly and with no judgment say: if you are in a place where volunteering is not even on your radar right now… that is OK. You are OK. There is nothing wrong with that or you. So many of us are doing our best right now to just make it through. Please, please keep your focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones. That’s service, too, and it matters in a BIG WAY!