As coronavirus spreads, organizations across the region seek volunteers

The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has volunteer opportunities. (Courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Washington)

As the number of coronavirus cases in the D.C. area continues to increase, several organizations are looking for volunteers to ensure vulnerable people throughout local communities are able to receive the help they need.

AREA-WIDE

The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is a volunteer-based organization that has made adjustments to accommodate for social distancing needs. Many volunteer opportunities now are virtual.

“My favorite one is our virtual teacher,” said Allison Jones, vice president of strategic partnerships and operations, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.

Paul Raker and Raven Joyner volunteer with the YMCA. (Courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Washington)

The “Y” has opened three area day care centers for kids of first responders and essential workers in Bowie, Silver Spring and Bethesda, Maryland.

Virtual volunteer teachers can work from anywhere, though.

“We’d love to be able to get this elementary school children connected to a teacher as they virtually learn in this new world,” Jones said.

Other virtual volunteer opportunities include coordinating pickups and drop offs of care packages, such as fresh produce, and being a teen social media advocate.

DC

District Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a call asking for citizens to join the D.C. Medical Reserve Corps. The D.C. MRC is open to medical and non-medical volunteers 18 or older. Those interested in joining can visit the District Department of Health website for more information.

ALEXANDRIA

Alexandria’s Medical Reserve Corps is looking for people to help support the health department’s response.

They’re seeking volunteers to staff their call center and to reach out to their vulnerable residents. The city’s Medical Reserve Corps is part of a nationwide network that consists of both medical and nonmedical volunteers trained to respond to public health emergencies, such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

The organization will provide the training necessary to fill the role.

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Volunteer Fairfax also has a portal for COVID-19-related volunteer opportunities for those who:

  • Feel comfortable doing so during this outbreak.
  • Have no symptoms.
  • And have not been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with the virus.

Opportunities range from serving as a “friendly caller volunteer” who makes phone calls to seniors, to helping clean at an animal rescue organization, picking up and delivering food, fixing meals for people who have challenging illnesses and unloading donated food at a family service center.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

Prince William Food Rescue needs volunteers to pick up food from grocery stores, restaurants and pantries and deliver the food to homebound people. Most of the organization’s volunteers were senior citizens who now cannot make the deliveries because they are more susceptible to coronavirus.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Montgomery County, Maryland, also has a portal for those seeking coronavirus-related volunteer opportunities.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s website has a section where potential helpers can see current requests from organizations that are connected with the county’s nonprofit network.

There’s also information for nonclinical volunteers that lists ways to be a good neighbor by keeping contact with those in your social circle by phone, text or email.


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WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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