Like many nonprofits, our volunteers are the heart and soul of what we do. In fact, one of our favorite quotes from Elizabeth Andrew talks about just that:
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”
Despite COVID-19, social distancing measures and the need to wear masks for long periods of time, volunteers have continued to step up and serve in our community throughout this months-long trial. We recognize, though, that not everyone with a volunteer heart has been able to help as much lately. Perhaps they’ve been sick, are afraid to be around others or have a chronic condition that makes them more susceptible to illnesses.
And this column is for them. We’ve come up with some ways in which those who would like to help can do so while at home or with minimal exposure to others. Here are some things you can do:
If you’re in good health, sign up to give blood at one of the American Red Cross’ drives. Find a blood drive at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.
Create no-sew blankets to provide comfort to animals living in shelters. Find out how to make them at tiny.cc/shelterblankets.
Volunteer to be a driver to distribute family food boxes to those in need in our community. Delivery drivers are needed on Friday and Saturday mornings. Find Pantry Plus More on www.volunteermpc.org for more information and ways to sign up.
Make a summer heat relief kit for the homeless. These can include sunglasses, sunscreen, water, wet wipes and other essential items.
Collect stuffed animals for WVU Medicine Children’s. The stuffed animals are used to provide comfort and support for patients and their siblings. If you can donate new stuffed animals — medium-size ones are recommended — call Barbie at 304-598-4365 to coordinate a drop-off.
Create a happiness jar that can be delivered to senior citizens living in nursing or rehabilitation homes who may not receive many visitors during the pandemic. Write notes of encouragement on small slips of paper, and then place them in a Mason jar.
If you’re able, pick up trash in a neglected area. You can follow social distancing guidelines but still help keep the community clean. Make sure to use washable or disposable gloves.
Food pantries in our area need food, but they also need cleaning supplies and toiletries. While you’re on your occasional store run, pick up some extra items (nonperishable food, cleaning supplies, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.) to donate. For even less exposure, order these items on
Amazon and have them delivered to the United Way, 278-C Spruce St., Morgantown, WV 26505. We can then distribute them to our area pantries.
It may seem like a small thing, but a thank you goes a long way. Thank our healthcare workers, whether it be by putting a sign on your front door or on the lawn or perhaps a photo or video on social media.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help while still staying safe and healthy. If you’ve put together kits, or made happiness jars or blankets, and aren’t sure where to donate them, call us at 304-296-7525.
Perhaps you have a specific skill and aren’t sure how you can help? Contact our office, and we can try to match you with a project in our community. For more information about volunteering, email our engagement manager at email@example.com or call 304-296-7525.
Amanda Posey is the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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