We get it, going out into the world to be around strangers is scary right now. It can also seem like you’re getting mixed signals by being encouraged to volunteer in the community and simultaneously being urged to stay home.
The thing is, you don’t have to put yourself and your health at risk in order to lend a hand. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do that can benefit your community… all while staying at home.
Not only are you helping to benefit your community, but you might also find that volunteering can help you grow as a person and increase self-confidence. To get a little boost of feel-good endorphins, consider these ways that you can get involved but stay cozy and comfy at home.
New York Cares for Kids
A lot of jobs have figured out how to shift their business to function online, and volunteer opportunities are following suit.
Schools have done the same thing, so you can volunteer to help kids from behind the sanctity of your own laptop. Virtual volunteering opportunities are available through New York Cares, where you can sign up to do online tutoring, virtual storytime, and even yoga and judo.
Support for Seniors
New York also cares for its seniors, and there are many ways you can lend a hand to your elders. There are opportunities to do a wellness check on seniors, making sure they arrived home safely.
You can also help by making sure they stay out of harm’s way all together. If you are healthy and know someone who may need a helping hand, such as purchasing groceries, this is an easy way to volunteer without having to add a new task to your schedule.
If you don’t know anyone, instead you can let people know you’re available to assist. Hang a sign with your contact information in your building or neighborhood so those in need can contact you for help. Here’s a simple idea if you don’t’ know what to write:
Need A Hand with your Grocery Shopping?
[Your Name] in [your apartment number] is here to help 🙂
Contact me at [your phone number and we can organize your own personal grocery delivery
Kiss Me Through the Phone
You can also research some local nursing homes in your area and see if you can write letters to seniors or give them a call! It’s always nice just to have someone to talk with, even if it isn’t face to face.
As always, lending a helping hand should start at home with family. Remember to check in on your family and friends and stay connected. You might be surprised who’s feeling lonely or having trouble adjusting, and a simple message (or even a cute puppy picture) can do wonders for someone’s mental health.
NYC. gov put together an insightful flier reminding us of the very small things we can do to be kind to each other and stay connected during COVID. Acts of kindness are important, always! Thanks to FaceTime and Zoom, there’s no excuse not to have dinner.
Doing Good Together also thought up several ways to spread love in the community, from folding and sending origami hearts to hanging thank you notes for delivery people.
Share the Wealth of Health
Your health is often an underrecognized privilege. In the wake of a pandemic, this is even more apparent. If you see the New York Blood Center truck parked outside your home for blood donations and are in good health (and can stand the needles) consider donating.
This life-saving donation only costs a little bit of your time. It’s very likely that the gesture will be rewarded with snacks to take back inside with you.
Keep or Toss?
It doesn’t have to be spring for you to do some cleaning. That shirt you’ve been shoving to the back of the drawer for years? Yeah, it might be a sign it’s time to let it go.
This can be a great opportunity to give back to the community! Round up your roommates or partner and do a game of “keep or toss.” When you’re done, go online to let a donation organization know. Several of them will happily come to you.
Just like that, you’ve volunteered AND you cleaned out your closet. If you wondered what you can gain from volunteering, it’s this.
Organizations that do home pick-ups are Vietnam Veterans of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Housing Works, Our Lady Benevolent, and Rescue Mission. You can organize a time they can collect the clothes to donate. They’ll even leave you a tax deduction receipt–yet another thing to gain from volunteering.
Go with the Pros
St George’s Society has been helping people in need since 1776, so coming up with volunteer opportunities during COVID was second nature. You can help get involved with existing programs they have that serve the community, like donating money that goes to food for those in need. You can even lend a hand with paperwork if that’s your thing. We see you organizational angels!
For more opportunities, NYC.gov lists plenty of places you can donate for COVID relief and ways to get involved.
Especially in a city like New York, the opportunities to volunteer are endless. Philanthropy is important in our society, and you can make a change by reaching out to help those nearby.
Remember, if you do want to get out there, these organizations are committed to doing good and keeping everyone protected. Be prepared with your mask, and avoid if you’re not feeling well
Below are links to different volunteering opportunities in NYC. For the most up to date information on COVID-19, please visit nyc.gov/coronavirus.
Places to Donate/Volunteer
Local Food Banks