Are there safe ways to volunteer during COVID-19? In mid-March, our local Indiana blood bank, Versiti issued a call to action. They were short on blood. My wife and I answered. We donated blood. We wore masks and carried sanitizer with us. It was the right thing to do. It felt good.

Where to Start

Check with local and state governments for volunteer opportunities. Here’s an example with Indy.gov sharing links to more than a dozen sites where you can help.  Indy.gov — COVID-19 Donations and Volunteer Opportunities

Check-in with family, friends, and neighbors

You don’t have to go to their home. Call or wave but take a moment and see how they are doing and what they need. Yesterday I picked up grocery’s curbside for my 90-year-old mother. I left them on her porch, and we chatted from a distance. I felt relieved that she didn’t go out.

Go virtual

Believe me; it’s not as difficult as I thought it might be. Jump in, the water is fine. This week I’ve done a FaceTime dance party with my daughter and granddaughter. Completed a 30-minute podcast on Zoom, met with my General Practitioner on Webex, and participated in a 20 person meet up in Google Hangouts. So, if I can do this…

Donate

Donate to your favorite charity. Support the local businesses you frequent by paying ahead or purchasing gift cards. My wife and I have a person that cleans our home every two weeks. She’s taken a leave and is staying with her kids. We paid her in advance.

Help a food pantry

Food pantries play a vital role in our society. They may be more critical now than ever before.

“Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security. 11.1 percent (14.3 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2018.” — USDA

“What would you do if you saw a hungry child? Buy the child a meal, seek out the parents, and offer your help, look for an organization to direct the family to? So, here’s my point – you’d do something, wouldn’t you because how could you not? Therefore, the question becomes, do you have to see the child, or is just knowing that hungry children exist enough for you to take action? I ask because this question hit me like a ton of bricks when I asked myself. I know there are hungry children, but am I doing enough to help? Not only are there hungry children and adults, but there are hungry kids in your community wherever you live.” — If You Saw a Hungry Child What Would You Do?

Volunteer from home

There’s so much you can do. You can become a reading coach, best buddy, or make masks. Organizations need people to listen to those who don’t have a voice. You can become a crisis counselor from home. Hotlines of all types need help. Many are flooded with calls during the pandemic.

Here are two more sites with hundreds of volunteer from home opportunities  Help with COVID-19 by Volunteering Remotely or On-Site | VolunteerMatch, and Points of Light — virtual volunteering opportunities.

So, How Can You Help?

I’m sure you can find something that fits your skills, talents, and desires. However, if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check with local charitable organizations. You may be surprised by how much they need your help. Rather than sit at home and bemoan what you can’t do why not do a little research and learn what you can do. And one more thing – it feels really good to help. Leave us a comment about how you’re helping or if your organization needs volunteers.

Photo by Jacky Chiu on Unsplash