Safe Ways for Seniors to Volunteer this Winter

The holiday season reminds us that although many families are able to shelter at home safely, with plenty of food and entertainment, some households are struggling to pay bills and buy food, let alone purchase gifts.  With the novel coronavirus keeping many volunteers who are often seniors themselves away from their regular duties, it may be challenging to find ways to give back safely. 

According to AmeriCorps, there are many opportunities for people to help one another safely during the pandemic while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.  Donating cash to a non-profit of your choice is a simple and direct way to help those in need to get assistance.  Older adults can also donate food to local pantries or help pack and sort at a food bank using safe practices.  

Meals on Wheels is a home delivery service that has seen a significant spike in demand over the past year with so many seniors and other vulnerable populations staying home.  Volunteering to deliver meals and groceries in your community is a safe, contactless way to help older adults stay healthy and safe this winter. 

Schools are often a source of food for families and although in-person classes may be on hold, most school districts are still supplying groceries and meals to students and their families with curbside pickup.  Volunteers are often needed to sort, pack, and distribute these care packages.  

The Red Cross is experiencing a donation shortage and there is a critical need for blood this holiday season.  Check with your doctor to see if you are safely able to donate blood or visit the Red Cross website to see how you can help by volunteering at a local blood drive, as a disaster volunteer, or as a digital advocate.   Trained medical volunteers can offer their services or donate medical supplies and equipment by joining a federal, local, or international crisis response program.  

There are many ways to help your community while staying safe at home.  Checking in on elderly neighbors by phone or with a conversation from a safe distance can help prevent social isolation and brighten the day of people living alone.  Visit All For Good to get more ideas about volunteer projects near you or start your own community project.