National Volunteer Week

April 19 – 25, 2020

Looking for something to do while sheltering in place? Volunteer virtually. Go to the Points of Light’s All For Good website for opportunities to help meet critical needs, all from your own home. In the orange COVID-19 Response section, click on Volunteer from Home. This will take you to a page populated by a zillion listings from non-profits that need virtual volunteers. You can do just about anything.

On the first page, I saw opportunities to:

  • staff hotlines,
  • write letters,
  • mentor students,
  • read to toddlers,
  • enter data,
  • teach classes,
  • and coordinate events.

In 1943, Canada established National Volunteer Week to celebrate the contribution made by women on the home front to the war effort. In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a partner proclamation that established it in the United States as a time to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. The Points of Light Foundation now manages the annual celebration.

Did you know that scientific studies show that individuals who volunteer enjoy psychological and physical benefits? These can include:

  • increased satisfaction,
  • improved sense of belonging,
  • lower blood pressure,
  • increased protection from Alzheimer’s,
  • and decreased mortality.

I’ve experienced the first couple as I’ve volunteered from home since March 20. I’m a happy letter writer, penning notes of encouragement to elderly shut-ins, medical workers and the teens in my Sunday School class. Last week, I organized a mask-making drive through our church to give to those who pick up free lunches on Saturdays. I’ve also made it a point to call a different person each evening to check in and enjoy a quality conversation. I haven’t hated this isolation. It’s forced me to prioritize my time in a way that points to others.

How about you? What volunteer activities are you engaged in this week?