Can’t volunteer in person? You can still give back in the DC area

With coronavirus cases surging, volunteering in person could be difficult. WTOP has some ways you can still give back in the DC area over the winter while keeping a distance.

Make paracord bracelets for troops and first responders

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center will ship you a kit with the material and a jig for measuring to make five bracelets for members of the military and first responders.



The Maryland-based volunteer center says the cords will be used in emergency situations to secure nets to trees or vehicles, create harnesses and build makeshift shelters. The insides of the cords can be used for sewing thread to repair gear, emergency sutures to close a wound and more.

Register online by Dec. 29 to get your “survival bracelet” kit and help out.

Put together gifts for cancer patients

Created by a three-time cancer survivor and based in Howard County, Maryland, Kits to Heart needs volunteers to create care kits for cancer patients. Some of the items they need include inspirational letters, crocheted or knitted bags, face masks and no-sew fleece blankets. They can be shipped or dropped off in Clarksville.

If you would rather buy items for the kits, they need ginger shews to help with nausea, gluten-free and dairy-free protein bars and hand sanitizer. Find how to buy these items for the care packages or find instructions on the craftier things they need on the organization’s website.

Make meals for seniors

KindWorks, based in Gaithersburg, needs casseroles and breads for local seniors. The food will go to the senior citizens served by the Gaithersburg Cares Hub and those living in the Hillside Senior Apartment Homes. If you need help with recipes, there are some online through the KindWorks website.

After you choose what you’re going to make, put your food in your freezer; then, find the instructions through KindWorks on how to package it up and put it in the coolers at the Gaithersburg Cares Hub at Seneca Creek Community Church on Jan. 6. Find out how to sign up online.

Help with online classes for seniors

Have you honed your Zoom skills over the pandemic? The nonprofit Washington-Metro Oasis needs volunteers to help with its online educational classes for senior citizens. They need teachers, tutors and people to help with tech support for online classes.

Their classes and seminars range from a conversation with Capitol Hill Police Chief Tom Manger to self-defense and lessons in music. Find more information on how to help out on the organization’s website.

Provide mental health support

Are you a licensed mental health provider? Give An Hour, founded by a D.C.-area psychologist, is looking for people to people to give an hour of support a week for a year to help with mental health counseling and support.

You can pick the population you give back to and provide services through a telehealth platform. Volunteers can also participate in other methods of support such as support groups, supporting emotionally impactful events, outreach to professional networks, speaking opportunities and more. Find out more on the organization’s website.

Tutor at-risk DC youth

The D.C.-based Latino Student Fund is looking for virtual tutors to help make sure the area’s most vulnerable students don’t fall behind in their classes. Zoom tutoring is available with flexible shifts every evening.

Tutors will share their screens and work through lessons accommodating what students are having trouble with in school. Orientation for new tutors includes an hourlong virtual orientation. Find more information on how to sign up on the organization’s website.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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