Whenever crowds came to Him, He had compassion for them because they were so deeply distraught, malaised, and heart-broken. They seemed to Him like lost sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus understood what an awesome task was before Him, so He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into His harvest field.”Matthew 9:26-28 VOICE
When Jesus saw the brokenness of the world around him, he responded not out of fear, but compassion.
He prayed for more people to work alongside him to help.
As we navigate the coronavirus pandemic, every day seems to bring us news of more heartbreak and distress in the world around us. One of the most helpful things we can do is stay at home, and yet stories of the physical, emotional, and financial toll of COVID-19 leave many of us itching to do more.
So how do you work to make a difference in this difficult time, while keeping yourself and others out of harm’s way?
You can actually make a huge difference while you keep a distance by becoming a “Virtual Volunteer.” Here are 10 ways you can volunteer while staying right in your living room.
1. Make masks
Those in the medical field put their lives on the line every day to help people in need. But many healthcare workers on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 lack the protective equipment they need to stay healthy and keep treating patients.
Doing something as simple as making masks and sending them to hospitals and medical clinics goes a long way, and you can do it all while upholding social distancing guidelines of staying in your house.
When you’re ready to donate, check out MyRedNewShoes to get more information about where to send your masks.
Many hospitals like Kaiser Permanente and Sequoia Hospital are accepting homemade masks as well.
2. Digital diaper drive
During this pandemic, many families are struggling to provide clean diapers for their children. Families are often forced to make tough decisions regarding daycare and employment because they can’t afford diapers and food.
Child Family and Community Services is hosting a digital diaper drive for low income families in Alameda. They donate and distribute diapers free of charge to Early Head Start and Head Start families. Diapers collected at their drive will go directly to families in their program. They are in need of size 3, 4, 5, 6. You can order diapers online and have them sent directly to:
Tamela Lloyd 17426 Via Melina, San Lorenzo CA 94580
3. Help foster kids in need
Foster kids can often be an overlooked demographic, and donations are in short supply during this time. You can contribute by sending these items:
- Pajamas, sized 5t to 9t
- Clothing for both boys and girls
You can send these items to Teresa Gomez of Kair In-Home Social Services. Though their offices are closed, donations can be sent to: 6262 Gettysburg Place. Stockton Ca 95207
4. Adopt a grandparent
Elderly people in nursing homes are especially affected by this time of isolation. By scheduling virtual visits, or even making and sending cards, you can make the day of someone who is alone. Check out this website to learn how you can “adopt a grandparent.”
5. Visit volunteermatch.org
Volunteermatch.org dedicated a whole section of their website to virtual volunteer opportunities. They will help match you to a place that needs your specific area of talent or interest. This site is a useful tool to help you look for ways to volunteer that you may not have thought of yourself. As they say on their website:
“Want to volunteer from anywhere? Explore the best volunteer organizations and hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities in cause areas like health and medicine, children and youth, education, community building, and more.”
6. Cheer up your neighborhood
Doing something as small as letting your neighbors know that you care and are thinking of them can go a long way. Don’t underestimate the power of one positive action! Here are some examples of things you can do to brighten up your neighborhood.
- Put up signs in your yard or window to bring positivity and encouragement to your neighborhood
- Take part in a worldwide Bear hunt – put bears in the window for kids to find.
- Make cards for your senior neighbors to brighten their day.
7. Let your friends and family know you care
Make a playlist for them, send a virtual card, or set up a call time to make your family and friends feel loved. Everyone is being affected during this time, so there is always a reason to reach out and express care, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve spoken.
You can also set up a virtual family game night or a Netflix party to stream a movie together.
The volume of scary and saddening stories we see on the news and social media can be difficult to process. One of the ways we can help each other is being a force for good on our social media accounts. Post positivity, good news, gratitude, and fun. We need it!
9. Start a Zoom class
Got a talent you could share? We’ve heard many stories of people starting fitness training, painting, cooking, Yoga, and dance classes over Zoom. If you have a talent to share, try starting up a Zoom class. You’ll find many people looking for connection and fun during these uncertain times.
Make sure to check out our Zoom best practices to keep your Zoom class secure.
10. Support small local businesses
If you’re ordering take-out, supporting small businesses in your local area is a great idea. Buying gift cards is also a great idea if you are able.
We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration about ways you can become a “virtual volunteer.” Remember, stay safe out there, keep up your social distancing, and stay healthy!