Volunteering opportunities still abound during the pandemic


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sewing masks from home is one way to continue volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic.

Avani Ambardekar

During the current coronavirus pandemic, finding a daily routine that is productive and fulfilling is a balancing act. Many of us have been accustomed to attending to activities outside of home that now simply cannot be done. Especially in the present, the spirit of activism and volunteerism can make a positive impact in any community. There are numerous ways to volunteer, and even the simplest of acts can truly make a difference. Here are some ways to volunteer from home during the pandemic: 

1. WWF’s Virtual 5K For Nature

When you register for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Virtual 5K, you become part of a community that recognizes the importance of staying active and connecting to the natural world. Nature can be a source of peace and repose from our lives, which is especially significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The registration fee is $20 and all participants are encouraged to fundraise for the event. Participants can receive fundraising prizes depending on the funds they accumulate, spanning from $100 to $1,000: a Panda Nation Race Shirt, WWF water bottle, hat and backpack. The funds go towards WWF’s conservation efforts around the world. From June 1 to June 7, pick as many days as you would like to jog, run or hike a 5K in your community. Doing a 5K as a family, while taking the time to observe nature around you, is a wonderful way to participate in this effort. Just remember to safely social distance! 


2. Limiting Food Waste and Fighting Food Insecurity 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montgomery County has formed a Food Security Task Force to increase necessary resources and guide those in need. The Task Force recognizes the distribution of food insecurity across Montgomery County, and focuses on providing resources by partnering with nonprofit organizations in those areas. To support these efforts, volunteers can donate food and finances to organizations that are creating food packs to distribute among residents, such as Manna Food Center. Some organizations also require volunteers to help deliver food. If you do not have the ability to donate resources, preserving the resources you do have and ensuring your family is shopping responsibly can make a large impact. Right now, limiting food waste is critical. Composting, preserving foods by freezing them, storing food properly, saving leftovers, organizing the fridge, cooking at home and taking care to observe your inventory of food items are all acts that can combat food waste. Donating to local food pantries, nonprofits and governmental agencies is another great way to help. Organizations that accept donations include Manna Food Center, Maryland Food Bank, and No Kid Hungry.

Montgomery County Requests for Donations 

Donations Form 

Contact Local Organizations


3. Making Masks and Other Crafts

There are countless organizations that receive masks that are either purchased or handmade. On the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website, there are links to such organizations and sites for instructions and patterns if you choose to sew your mask from home. Additional crafts that are greatly appreciated are making blankets (requires fleece, scissors and a simple pattern) that can be donated to children’s shelters and hospitals; and creating artwork, recording music performances and crafting letters for senior homes so that senior citizens can feel connected during this time. 

MoCo Mask Makers 

Masks for A Safer Community

Virtual – Email/ Mail to Reduce Social Isolation 

Make Blankets for Children 

Virtual Concert for Student Musicians and more 


4. Check on Your Neighbors in a Safe Manner

There are various online communications platforms to connect with neighbors who may require assistance. There are also a number of activities that do not require and ways to provide your neighbors resources while practicing safe social distancing. These include leaving groceries in front of their house (having washed your hands beforehand), giving them a phone call to counter social isolation and connecting them to transportation for appointments and other services. Most importantly, protect others by protecting yourself first and making safe and informed decisions. Check the page dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic on the Montgomery County’s Volunteer Center website for links to organizations, volunteer opportunities and online communications platforms. 

It is important to keep in mind that quarantining at home does not place limits on volunteerism and activism; in fact, the current pandemic may provide more time to dedicate to volunteering. These are just a few examples of the opportunities that are out there. Making safe and healthy decisions, like staying at home, makes a great impact and can contribute immensely to keeping others in your community safe and healthy as well.