Though 2020 hasn’t been the year we were all planning, the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly encouraged people to find new ways of coming together – whilst remaining two metres apart of course! If you’ve found yourself furloughed and with more time on your hands, or perhaps you just want to be able to help out those less fortunate during the crisis, there are still plenty of volunteering opportunities available.
Now more than ever, we need to come together to help out, follow the rules and try to get through this as best we can. There have been nationwide appeals as well as local aid groups looking for volunteers. Across the world, new charities and initiatives have emerged to help those most affected by coronavirus, while existing charities have had to look for additional support to continue their work.
If you’re interested in doing your bit, here are eight ways you can get involved and volunteer your time and services during the pandemic.
Shopping and prescription collection
With many people still shielding or concerned about going out to busier public places, even basic tasks such as shopping have become difficult. Whether you sign up for a program or simply speak to those in your local area, volunteering your time to go food shopping for others can be extremely helpful.
Many people are even unable to leave their house to pick up their prescriptions, which can be a real concern. So for the same reason, it can be life-changing to someone if you’re able to help them out by picking up their prescriptions and dropping them off at their house. Often you’ll be asked to simply leave these on the doorstep so as to avoid unnecessary contact. The same applies to food shopping.
Phone a friend
Though lockdown has lifted, there are still a huge number of vulnerable people shielding or having to avoid spending too much time with others. This can be extremely isolating. In a bid to stop people from feeling lonely, initiatives have been set up for volunteers to speak to those who are feeling isolated, over the phone. If you want to allocate some of your time to have friendly phone calls with isolated people, it can make a real difference to their day.
Support key workers
Throughout the pandemic, key workers such as carers, nurses and shop assistants have done their best to keep things going. Sadly, many often forget about the additional stress they are now facing and how they may be coping. Particularly those who are having to deal with sick patients and loss of life due to Covid-19.
For this reason, one of the best things you can do is to give up your time to help support key workers. Again, this can be on a local or national scale. Phone lines have been set up to lend a listening ear for those caught in the middle of the pandemic to support their well-being and mental health. You can volunteer to work on one of these hotlines and offer your support to someone who has been working tirelessly throughout.
Alternatively, if you know someone in your local area (or perhaps several people) who are key workers and need some extra help, volunteer some of your time to support them. This might be looking after their children while they’re at work, picking up some shopping for them so they can come home and relax or offering to run their errands while they catch up on sleep from yesterday’s night shift. At the end of the day, every gesture helps, no matter how big or small you may think it is.
Supporting food banks and food distribution
Despite so many of us coming together during these unprecedented times, there are still people out there who are struggling. As such, food banks and food distribution services such as Trussell Trust have been working day and night to get food to vulnerable people, those who have lost their jobs or those who don’t otherwise have access to groceries.
But the high demand on these services means they are always looking for volunteers. So as well as donating to the food banks, you can also offer your time to help sort and deliver food parcels to those in need.
NHS Volunteer Responders
If you’re in the United Kingdom, you’re probably aware that the National Health Service (NHS) has been stretched to its limits during the pandemic. To support their efforts an initiative called GoodSAM was set up for volunteer responders. Though they received thousands of applications, every little bit helps, so if you’d like to support the NHS, you can sign up today.
Animal charities have struggled during the pandemic, having to close their doors to visitors and those looking to rehome an animal. With many feeling stretched, animal charities have reached out to find volunteers to help walk the dogs in their care, and some have also asked people to consider fostering. Particularly those who have been furloughed and have more time at home to dedicate to a dog.
That said, you don’t have to physically go to a charity to help out with dog walking. If you know of any vulnerable people or those who are shielding and need someone to walk their dog, this can be another truly helpful and fun way to volunteer your time. Plus the dogs will really appreciate it!
Sign up to work with charities
We’ve already mentioned a few charities that have been working hard to support people during the coronavirus crisis, but with so much change going on in the world right now, there are still so many others that need your support. Charities such as Age UK, Women’s Aid and Children’s Society continue to look for support, particularly with people spending more time at home than ever before.
Though finally the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage seems to have subsided, new regulations in place means everyone is now required to wear masks in shops. As such, people are looking for more sustainable options like reusable masks. If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine, making masks for your local community can be a fun and rewarding way to volunteer your time and skills.
Stuart Cooke is the Blog Editor at MyBaggage.com, luggage shipping specialists who help travelers all over the world take stress and time out of their journeys.
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