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This year has been unprecedented in so many ways due to the pandemic. Normal life has been disrupted in many ways – including the interruption or cancellation of many regular volunteer-based projects and initiatives due to uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. Now that we know more about the virus, have invested in proper personal protective equipment and educated ourselves on how to be safe, many projects are adapting to continue their work.
As the holiday season is upon us, you might be considering ways to volunteer in Atlanta, so that you can give back to the community. Or perhaps you’re looking to get back in the swing of things if volunteering used to be a regular part of your life.
Fortunately, there’s an excellent resource for discovering ways to volunteer in Atlanta. That is the volunteer organizing hub of Hands On Atlanta. This organization connects volunteers to projects and other organizations that need volunteers. Their tagline is “Do Something Good” and their official mission is to “mobilize the Atlanta community to tackle our city’s most pressing needs.”
Hands On Atlanta is the place to get started if you’re interested in ways to volunteer in Atlanta, especially if you’re not sure what is right for you. They have a ton of different opportunities you can search by keyword, location or even just by date. Just create an account to get started. We have also compiled this list of some very worthy projects for inspiration on where to start your journey to giving back in this giving season.
If you’re looking to bring happiness and holiday cheer to metro Atlanta families in need, then Santa’s Village – the distribution center for The Empty Stocking Fund – may be the right place for you. They need volunteers for all aspects of gift assembly, from opening and sorting to packing children’s gifts. This project is also family-friendly. See opportunities here.
Books for Africa
Reading is one of life’s great joys, and helping to pack books for children in Africa who have little access to their own books is a great way to share the joy of reading with deserving young people. This project is socially distanced, and volunteers are required to wear masks while packing in the warehouse. Don’t worry, there’s no heavy lifting! Sign up here.
Hunger is a serious global issue and can be especially apparent this time of year. Volunteer with Urban Recipe to help pack nutritious foods for families in need of emergency food relief. Masks are required and social distance of 10 feet or more is observed at this project for volunteers between ages 16 and 65. Sign up here.
Truly Living Well
If you’re down for getting your hands dirty, Truly Living Well is a fun and unique volunteer opportunity at a large nonprofit community-service based urban farm. Bring your own mask, gloves and positive attitude. You’ll help out maintaining this impressive urban farm and garden that serves its community and educates locals on urban farming. Sign up here.
As Atlanta city schools are in session this year in a virtual, e-learning environment that involves studying and learning from home, many students miss out on the meals they would normally get at school. This hits home even harder for students whose parents’ employment has been affected by the pandemic. Whitefoord distributes meals to these families and needs volunteers to help unload food, pack it for distribution and to assist with cleanup. Volunteers should be OK to stand for up to four hours and comfortable lifting 10-30 pounds. Sign up for this project here.
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children
If you’re a physically strong volunteer that can lift more than 100 pounds, then Friends of Disabled Children and Adults needs you to help their drivers pick up medical equipment. This organization serves unhoused, low-income adults, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups. It’s a great way to give back by helping their drivers with your muscles. Sign up here.
Meals on Wheels
For a volunteer gig that doesn’t even require you to leave your home, Meals on Wheels Atlanta is looking for people to help bring cheer to older adults, veterans, people with disabilities and typically homebound individuals. By writing cards and messages of encouragement, you can help brighten the day of someone who is likely experiencing a very isolating time during the pandemic. You just mail in your contributions, and they’re distributed with the meals. Learn more here.
Refugee after school tutor
Through the Virtual Refugee Youth After School Program Tutor initiative, you are able to work with refugee children to help them navigate the American school system by providing extra educational support. This is a program with a recurring commitment, so express your interest here.
Thank a health care worker
Right now, we are all more thankful than ever for those working in healthcare helping to address the ongoing pandemic. Salesforce and Hands On Atlanta have partnered to bring your messages of encouragement to healthcare workers. Learn more about how you can write letters to these health heroes here.
Open Hand Atlanta
Of course, there are so many ways to volunteer in Atlanta, and some of those can be found directly with organizations (as opposed to through a hub like Hands On Atlanta). Open Hand Atlanta provides meals to Atlantans and rural Georgians in need. With this organization, volunteers mostly work by driving meals to the clients that need them. It’s a great way to volunteer if you have your own vehicle. It also doesn’t require much close contact, so it’s very COVID-safe. Check out their volunteer hub here.
Everybody Wins! Atlanta
For anyone open to spending time in person with children and looking for an ongoing commitment, you can volunteer independently as a reading mentor for a child with Everybody Wins! Atlanta. With this organization, you help some of the nearly two-thirds of Atlanta students who are not yet reading on grade-level gain confidence in their skills and learn to love reading. Learn more and express your interest in volunteering here.
As you can see there is no shortage of ways to volunteer in Atlanta this holiday season. Whether you are a resident or maybe even just visiting for the holidays, you can find a way to participate within whatever time constraints you have. You can also volunteer in-person or virtually, and there is truly something of interest for everyone. Check out one of these great opportunities to find your way to give back in Atlanta in this giving season.
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