Now’s the time of the year when most of us get inspired by our thankfulness for what we have by volunteering our time to help others who aren’t as privileged. And that’s a wonderful thing. However, you might be wondering if your typical volunteering options are available while the pandemic is still in full force?
The answer to that question echoes the answer to most questions these days: it’s still happening, it just might look a bit different. Here are a few ways you can start to look for volunteer opportunities that the entire family can participate in.
Check In On Your Neighbors
Sometimes, the help your community needs is next door. Call, text, or leave a note on their door (introduce yourself, if necessary) with your neighbors—especially if they are elderly. See if there’s anything they need or if they’re interested in interaction with other humans. You can set up small backyard firepit conversations or start a penpal relationship. The kids can draw pictures too!
You don’t have to look far to find a small business struggling to make ends meet right now. While purchasing from them as much as possible is great, you can also reach out to see if there’s more you can do. Ask your favorite places if you can volunteer your promotional efforts in a strategic way for them.
Ask Your City/Town
Too often, we overlook our local governments as a resource of information about our community. Check with your city’s website, like this page for Chicago. If your city/town doesn’t have online resources, reach out to them directly to ask.
Search for Online Opportunities
Sites like Volunteermatch.org have a detailed search filter to find volunteer opportunities you can do online. Very COVID-friendly! You can even filter by age participation, cause, and skills you have to offer.
Find a Food Bank
Food banks all over the country heavily rely on volunteers to meet the needs of their communities. Look up your local food bank or search for one on Feeding America. You can help with sorting and packing, assisting at mobile pantries, delivering meals, or even online with awareness and fundraising efforts.
Specifically For Teens
Particularly this year, younger kids are struggling with school. TeensGive is an online program in which teenagers can volunteer their time to help tutor younger students. Engaging with others online is already a breeze for them, now they can put that to helpful use.
The fact of the matter is that people are still in need of help from their neighbors. And now more than ever, groups that rely on volunteers need all of the help and funding they can get to help keep everyone safe.