By Hope C.
COVID-19 has created an unusual atmosphere for everyone. Many of our usual activities aren’t safe to participate in right now, but social distancing does not have to stop us from giving back to our communities! Whether you’re just looking for a productive way to kill time, want to do good in the world, or need service hours for your college applications, virtual volunteering will be perfect for you.
Work Around Your Schedule
In typical times, it can be hard to find the time to volunteer while being busy with school, work, or other activities. The idea of adding yet another venture into your schedule can feel overwhelming. While in this pandemic, most people have been able to find more free time, making this the perfect opportunity for acts of service. Pull out your calendar and think about how much time you are able and willing to give. Are you planning to take lead on a brand new project or help others who have already started?
Reach Out to Senior Citizens
Quarantine and social distancing have resulted in feelings of isolation and loneliness for countless people. Some of those affected most by this are the eldest members of our communities. They are at a higher risk for COVID and are likely yearning for connection in these uncertain times. Make phone/facetime calls, send cards, or make small gifts/care packages to send to senior citizens. You could also reach out to a local care home or nursing facility and ask how you can help. It can be as simple as playing virtual chess, checkers, or bingo. These are all simple and take little effort, but can bring such joy to others
Cheer Up Essential Workers
Along with senior citizens, essential workers will be touched by your kindness. Many are making cards, signs, care packages, and posters to thank the health care workers who are working to keep us safe. Similarly to this, you can do these things for other essential workers. Think about the people in your community that are putting their health at risk while going to work each day. Choose any one, whether it is a firefighter, nurse, or grocery clerk.
Join a Service Organization
There are plenty of service groups that are still meeting virtually! Look into what you have near you. The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is an amazing youth group centering around leadership, service, and sisterhood. More information can be found at https://gocarainbow.org. There are other groups as well such as Girl Scouts, 4H, and church youth groups. See what is right for you and available in your community
Be a Tutor
Try out virtually tutoring younger students. Is there a class or subject that you excel at and enjoy? Chances are, there’s someone who would love your help with their learning. Schools are reopening and your academic skills could boost someone’s grades as well as their confidence. If you know younger students, you can reach out to them personally or go straight to local schools and teachers who can set you up with the students that will benefit from your help.
Make Blankets or Teddy Bears
Many hospitals and fire stations have the option to pick up teddy bears that are pre-sewn to be stuffed and donated. You can sew, crochet, or knit your own as well! Donate them and bring a smile to a child’s face. In addition, you could make blankets to donate. If you’re not great at needlework, there’s nothing to worry about. Tie blankets are just as comfy and they couldn’t be easier to make! You can donate these to somewhere local like a hospital, animal shelter, or to the homeless. You can also send them to organizations such as the Painted Turtle: a free camp for children with serious medical conditions. They even have easy to understand directions here: https://www.thepaintedturtle.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/fleece_blanket_flyer.pdf?1556639876.
Donate Extra Items
With the extra time COVID has gifted to you, you can get organized while giving back! Clean out your closet and dresser drawers. You probably have plenty that you have outgrown or no longer wear. Throw them in the wash and donate them to someone in need! There are plenty of well-known options such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, but there are also local nonprofits in every community. Do your research and donate your clothing, toys, books, etc. to whatever you see as the best fit.
Make A Change
Create or sign petitions for changes that you believe in. Take on issues that are global or local and use sites such as https://www.change.org. You can also make calls and send emails to communicate with mayors, governors, and other leaders. Spread the word and fight for what you believe in!
Acts of Service
People now are in need of service and kindness more than ever, and as simple as these things seem, you can truly make an impact on the world. This is just a small list including only a few of the numerous ways you can make a difference. Think outside of the box and don’t give yourself limits when it comes to acts of service. No matter the reason that you have decided to volunteer, you are about to make people’s lives a little brighter!