Volunteering During A Pandemic

Neighborhood cleanups, school events, meal serving. These are all acts of volunteerism that many of us have done, and to some people, volunteering has become a big part of their lives. We volunteer to give back, gain experience, and probably the most fun, to meet new people. But how do we continue our acts of service during a global pandemic, when human contact is hazardous? How do we change the world while being restricted to our own homes?

My team of VEP committee leaders and I took on this challenge when planning September’s volunteer event for Passion Impact. Not only was planning a remote volunteer experience already an obstacle, but we also had to advertise it to be fun and get students involved solely online and through social media. To tackle this, we first had to think of ways to help from our homes, or at least in a manner that does not require human contact. Luckily, there are already programs and volunteer events that do not require you to be with other people. Some examples of these include: being pen pals with prisoners, making dog toys with t-shirts to donate, or wrapping holiday gifts for children in need. We loved the idea of penpals because volunteers would be able to do everything completely in the safety of their homes, so we decided on writing letters to the elderly in nursing homes to cheer them up from social isolation and connect with the youth. 

We then went online and reached out to an elderly care home in the Portland area who said they would love to be pen pals with us. This brings me to this; the internet is a great place for connection, especially during a time where social gatherings are not safe. Through communication channels, emails, and research, our team was able to plan everything and as we move forward we will hold our volunteer event completely through a screen. 

From a glass half full perspective, social distancing is simply a test to our creativity and adaptability. If researching and contacting people yourself is not something you are comfortable with, there are many volunteer groups and organizations out there adjusting to COVID-19 to continue volunteer work! Some of these groups include HandsOn Portland, Volunteers of America Oregon, and of course, high school clubs for students such as Passion Impact! If you are interested in joining us in writing cards to the elderly, keep an eye out for registration on GivePulse!

Written by:
Jennifer Truong
Development Committee Student Leader in VEP
Read more about Jennifer: https://jtruong3252.wixsite.com/jennifertruong