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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

September 09, 2020
Volunteerism in the COVID-19 Era

Now that we have lived with COVID-19 for nearly six months, it’s time to get back to a more “normal” life — or as normal as possible. Something many of us lost in the pandemic — and something we want to get back — is the opportunity to volunteer. Though it might look different now, volunteerism in the COVID-19 era is possible and needed more than ever. Here with a few tips for safe volunteering in person and at home – and why you might consider it for your family: 

Benefits of Volunteering

  • Create Positive Memories: With kids spending so much time at home (and away from the things they love), parents are working extra hard to create positive family memories. Volunteering is a great way for them to get their minds off their own struggles and focus on helping others. Five, 10 or 15 years down the road, you and your family can look back on a positive memory of making a difference for those in need.
  • Learn Something New: Oftentimes, volunteering pushes us out of our comfort zones and allows us to learn something new. This is beneficial for kids and adults alike.
  • Make a Difference in Your Community: Of course, volunteering gives you the opportunity to make a positive impact on those around you. Many in our communities are hurting. Even a small act of kindness can make a difference for another.
  • Live Healthier: A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health found that “people who volunteered spent 38% fewer nights in the hospital.” Volunteering can lead to healthier physical and mental health in individuals, families and communities.

Volunteering from Home

  • Sew Facemasks: With local and statewide mask mandates in place across the country, facemasks are in high demand everywhere. You can use this guide from the CDC to make masks at home and get your kids involved in selecting fabrics, cutting, measuring and even working the sewing machine. Hand them out to people you know, donate them to your local homeless shelter or give them to another local non-profit in need.
  • Write Letters: Mailing a simple letter, card or drawing can make a huge difference for others – especially grandparents and other elderly friends and family members who are extra lonely right now. Texts and phone calls are nice, too, but the impact of snail mail cannot be surpassed.
  • Support Local Nonprofits Online: Many organizations are looking for help with communications, administrative work and other services. For example, St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix is seeking assistance with outreach to existing volunteers, English to Spanish translation, writing encouraging notes to current and former residents and simply sharing the organization’s message on social media. Include your kids wherever they can help!

Volunteering in the Community

  • Serve at a Food Bank: With many in our community out of work and experiencing food insecurity, the demands on food banks are higher than ever. Some are allowing volunteers to come to the facility to pack food and fulfill other duties (with necessary precautions in place) while others are only accepting food donations. Either way, this provides a tremendous service to others.
  • Donate Blood/Plasma: Another way you can serve your community is through blood and plasma donations. Red Cross is always accepting donations and has put proper safety precautions in place to keep you safe when you go to donate. These donations are always essential.
  • Run Groceries for the Elderly or Physically Challenged: Start with neighbors, family members and friends who could use your help. If you’re looking to go beyond your immediate community, seek out opportunities with organizations like AboutCare. They’re always looking for volunteers.

It’s a prime time to pitch in and help where you can – and to include the entire family wherever possible!

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