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Step Up To Help Others This Summer: Virtual and In-Person Volunteer Opportunities for All Ages

As the country continues to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a growing need for volunteers across many sectors. The following roundup of ideas and resources, including online volunteer databases where you can search by activity and location, will help you get started.

As the country continues to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a growing need for volunteers across many sectors. Organizations of all stripes are looking for both in-person and virtual volunteers.

Volunteers offer vital assistance to communities and people in need, but the benefits are alsoImage of people with text bubbles over their heads great for you, the volunteer. Studies have shown that volunteering reduces stress, combats depression, and improves overall well-being. At a time when people are out of work and socially distancing, volunteering, even virtually, connects you with others and also brings fun and fulfillment to your life. Engaging in volunteer activities with the children in your life is an ideal way to teach them about community service and the value of assisting others.

It need not be difficult to find time to volunteer; many opportunities don’t require a large or long-term commitment. One way to get started is to think about your skillset, expertise, and what you can offer others. Are you a good listener? Are you fluent in another language? Do you like to write? Can you lift heavy items? There is never a shortage of organizations looking for help, and many opportunities don’t require any kind of special skills.

The following roundup of ideas and resources, including online volunteer databases where you can search by activity and location, will help you get started.

 

In-person volunteering

Volunteer at a Food Bank

Food banks all over the country have seen a surge in demand and are in need of people to help prepare food and serve meals. You can search for local food banks at feedamerica.com or reach out directly to pantries and social service organizations in your community to see what they need.

Check On Your Neighbors

This is an important time to check up on people in your community, especially older neighbors who are homebound. You can give them a call or knock on their door and, while maintaining distance, ask what you can help with. They may need someone to pick up groceries or prescriptions or help them maintain their home or yard.

Donate Blood

There has been a steep decline in blood donations since the virus hit. The Red Cross said recently that it has an “urgent need” for blood and platelet donations since many of its blood drives have been canceled. If you are healthy and able to donate blood, you can save lives by doing so, and it’s safe and relatively easy to do. All blood types are needed. You can schedule an appointment on the Red Cross website.

Help Out at An Animal Shelter

Animal shelters often depend heavily on volunteers, and there are usually different types of volunteer jobs available to do there. You can work hands-on with the animals, assist in the administrative offices, help out at events, and more. The AdoptaPet.com site can help you find shelters and rescue organizations in your area.

 

Virtual volunteering

Help a Crisis Hotline

Crisis Text Line is a free, 24-hour mental health service that is staffed entirely by volunteers. After receiving training, crisis counselors answer texts and provide assistance to people in need of someone to talk to.

Tutor Kids Online

There is always demand for virtual tutors to help kids of all ages with academic skills. UPchieve is a free online platform that connects low-income students with live volunteer coaches. MyFreeTutor pairs volunteers with facility in math to help students learn math concepts. Learn to Be provides free one-on-one tutoring to students in underserved communities. All of these organizations provide training to volunteers before the tutoring sessions begin.

Assist Those in Mourning

The organization My Grief Angels connects volunteers with people who are mourning a loss or suffering from anxiety. The group also runs COVID-19 grief support groups in both English and Spanish and is often looking for facilitators.

Write to First Responders

Operation Gratitude offers a program by which kids and others can write thank you letters to first responders and emergency medical personnel fighting the pandemic. Volunteers register at the website and are given guidelines about what to include in the letters and where to send them.

 

Volunteering platforms & databases

These large volunteer platforms have extensive databases that allow you to search for opportunities that match where you live and what you are interested in doing.

  • Youth Service America, a group focused on helping young people get involved in their communities, has resources for kids of all ages on its site, and a section focused on assisting others during the pandemic.
  • All For Good is a digital volunteer hub and part of the international nonprofit organization Points of Light. It has a robust website with many resources to connect people with virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities.
  • VolunteerMatch, a large volunteer platform, has sections on its site dedicated to Covid-19 volunteering. You can filter your search by location, interest, or organization.

Melanie Kletter is an educator and freelance writer and editor. 

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Jared White

Just wanted to inform you that the 5 links after the UPchieve link all also link to https://upchieve.org/volunteer instead of their intended destinations.

Posted : Jul 14, 2020 08:24

Kiera Parrott

So sorry about that, Jared. Thank you for letting us know. The links have now been corrected.

Posted : Jul 14, 2020 09:46


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