April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! Volunteering looks different in a world that requires social distancing amid COVID-19 concerns. However, the need for volunteers and their positive impacts remains strong. Our communities, both locally and globally, still lean on volunteers. How can you make a difference from home? Here are a few ideas.

Local Opportunities

School District Food Distribution 

Many local school districts have launched programs to feed children breakfast and lunch while school is not in session. Each district is different, but might be seeking assistance. Check with your local school district for opportunities to help.

Local Animal Shelter/Pet Foster 

Are you an animal lover? Local animal shelters are looking for support due to COVID-19 restrictions. Call your local shelter and ask about their opportunities to foster. Pets make perfect companions as we practice physical distancing.

Meals on Wheels 

Local communities need help working to ensure the elderly continue to have meals. Reach out to your local Meals on Wheels to find opportunities to help.

Adopt a Retirement Home/Community

Reach out to a retirement home offering virtual interactions and schedule a time to participate. You could share a talent like singing, dancing, playing instruments, or just have a conversation. Not into performing? These communities may also be accepting cards and art. These could make for a great at-home art class project for both adults and children.

Check-in with Neighbors

Helping neighbors doesn’t have to require contact. Have you tried using the app NextDoor to see if anyone needs help? If you know your neighbors and you’re making a run to the grocery store, see if they need something.

Organize or Participate in a Bear Hunt

Across the nation, front windows and porches are being decorated with stuffed animals. Families are using these small touches to spark conversations as people walk for exercise through their communities. Do you have a bear hunt happening in your neighborhood? If not, contact your neighbors and plan something similar in your community.

Share a Skill

Do you have a skill set that could be useful in this stressful time? If you can lead an exercise class, a yoga class, a meditation session, a cooking class, or simply read a book, share your skill. It may help others at home with ideas and activities to practice while in quarantine.

Global Opportunities

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex, composed of 18 museums, nine research centers, a zoo, and libraries. Virtual volunteers are used on two main projects: updating Wikipedia pages and transcribing historical documents.

Red Cross

The Red Cross utilizes volunteers to monitor online discussions to find people and areas that need assistance. Volunteers also share updates on social media. 

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) connects volunteers with organizations worldwide that need assistance with editing, translation, technology services, research, and advocacy.

Amnesty Decoders

Amnesty Decoders is a global network of volunteers that give their time researching and exposing human rights violations.

Catchafire

Catchafire makes it easy to "give what you’re good at.” It allows professionals to volunteer their skills to mission-driven organizations in need of talent.

Translators Without Borders

Translators Without Borders gathers translators from around the world offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies and non-profit organizations globally.

Be My Eyes

The Be My Eyes app connects volunteers with blind and low-vision people to provide visual assistance.

Bookshare

Bookshare is an eBook library that helps simplify reading for people with reading barriers such as dyslexia, learning disabilities, and visual impairments. You can volunteer with Bookshare by scanning, proofreading text, and describing images for the tool's users. 

Career Village

Career Village is an online community that allows you to volunteer by providing personalized career advice and guidance to students and professionals just getting started in their careers.

Volunteering is a great way to spend time getting involved with your local community. Contact your installation Volunteer Coordinator for information on volunteer opportunities and assistance tracking your volunteer hours.