Corona Virus/COVID-19 Update

 

Dear Volunteer Memphis Friends and Supporters,

Sometimes it isn’t easy to be a volunteer.

In times like we are facing today, it is perhaps as tough as ever. We all have a role to play in keeping each other safe and adjusting to the ever-changing aspects of life and community while finding ways to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s what volunteers do.

We must have the courage to be examples for others. We must find ways to work individually, as well as in teams, even as we are asked to practice social distancing. There are opportunities to make a difference all around us. As communities become more isolated, fragmented, and fragile, we can find solutions, fill the gaps, and lift each other up, all while remaining sensible and safe. It’s what volunteers do.

Our country has not seen a disruption like this before. The changes being thrust upon us are intense and changing hourly. These are the times when volunteers are needed most and as volunteers, we will figure it out and do our part to make a difference. It’s what volunteers do.

Thank you for doing your part as a volunteer, even as we continue to wade into uncharted waters. Here is what we are doing at Leadership Memphis and Volunteer Memphis.

  • All Leadership Memphis/Volunteer Memphis activities are postponed until May 4, 2020
  • Leadership Memphis and Volunteer Memphis staff will be working remotely starting March 17

The safety of all LM/VM stakeholders is our highest priority as we adjust to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are closely monitoring information coming from our state and local governments and will continue to act accordingly. Please stay tuned to your inbox and social media channels for updates regarding events and LM/VM activities.

In the meantime, below are some volunteer ideas you can utilize during this period where people might have more time on their hands than normal. If you have any additional suggestions, please email them to Andrea Hill, Director of Volunteer Memphis, at ahill@leadershipmemphis.org, or me at dwilliams@leadershipmemphis.org.

We want you and your families to be safe and stay healthy!

Yours in community,

David Williams
President/CEO
Leadership Memphis/Volunteer Memphis

Volunteer Opportunities

Social distancing has made volunteering difficult, but not impossible!

Volunteer Memphis is working to create new ways to engage volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please note that Volunteer Memphis and Leadership Memphis are dedicated to providing our networks with resources and opportunities for people to give back to the community, or utilize for self-care. BUT, we need your help!

If you know of any volunteer opportunities or resources for the Mid-South community, please send those to Andrea Hill, Director of Volunteer Memphis, at ahill@leadershipmemphis.org.

Below are a few volunteer opportunities to strongly consider:

Donate Blood with Vitalant
Donations are down more than 25% 

Vitalant, formerly Lifeblood, has five donation centers open in the greater Memphis area. It is urgent for healthy people to make a blood donation appointment by phone or through the Vitalant website.

Vitalant staff follows rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at their donation centers. By setting appointments, the donation centers can practice social distancing.

Giving blood has no impact on your immune system. If you have attempted to give blood in the past and were not able to, encourage others to donate today. Blood saves lives every day.

Students who relied on schools for breakfast and lunch are now going without since schools are closed.

The Mid-South Food Bank is asking for volunteers to help pack boxes of food for deserving families.

Organizers are carefully scheduling shifts to practice social distancing while meeting the growing demand! The Food Bank also welcomes donations so they can purchase more food.

Volunteers, please contact Clifton Rockett: crockett@midsouthfoodbank.org
To donate, please contact Cathy Pope: cpope@midsouthfoodbank.org

While at this time there is no proof our pets are susceptible to COVID-19 the Humane Society says it’s low on certain medical supplies and needs to find animals their loving, forever homes!

Staff are performing adoptions by appointment only to adhere to social distancing, but if you can’t house an animal for good — consider fostering one! If you’re interested in fostering, email Ashley Moore at amoore@memphishumane.org for more information.

Finally, to keep staff members and animals safe, the Humane Society is suspending its volunteer program on March 20, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t help! Donating to the Humane Society will allow them to continue their lifesaving work!

With so many people isolating themselves, a friendly voice can make all the difference. A good idea after your hellos might be to ask if there’s anything you can do to help the person(s) you’ve called.

Do they have the food, water, or medicines they need? What about their pets? If you have the time to make those calls, do it.

We also want to shoutout the Downtown Neighborhood Association for posting an offer to help people with errands, food, pets, and more through the NextDoor app!

Support a Restaurant, or Two, or Three!

Okay, so while not technically volunteering, supporting local restaurants will really help out your friends, neighbors, AND the economy.

Volunteer to call a restaurant of your choice and order for pick-up, delivery, or even buy a gift card!

Each restaurant has its own hours and details for take-out or delivery, so make sure to check Google or the Memphis Restaurant Association website for more information.

Complete (and return) the 2020 Census!

The U.S. Census Bureau should finish sending out the 2020 Census this week and it is important that you fill yours out and return it either online, over the phone, or through the mail!

Local, State, and Federal government offices use the census to determine:

  • Where to distribute tax dollars
    • Think hospitals, highways, and school lunch programs
  • How to implement public improvement strategies
    • Like reducing traffic and making school districts
  • Where emergency services can be most effective
    • When disasters happen, census data tells agencies where the people most affected are

Virtual Volunteer Opportunities During COVID-19 Outbreak

Lend a hand from the comfort of home!

Volunteer Memphis understands not everyone is in a position to volunteer face-to-face, but that’s where we come in!

As one of 250 local affiliates of the Points of Light Foundation, we are sharing some of the virtual volunteer opportunities they have identified.

Here are just a few for now, but we’re working on a more comprehensive list to share in the coming weeks!

Help Someone Find Their Roots

Ancestry.com hosts the Ancestry World Archives Project (AWAP) that provides volunteers free software to access images they can transcribe into a publicly-searchable database.

Members of the Ancestry World Archives Project use their passion for genealogy to help others discover their roots!

You know the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child?” Well, CareerVillage.org is taking that approach to teach millions of college students about the professional world.

Some questions even come from high school students looking to better understand what they should study, or where they should go to college.

All you need is a LinkedIn account to start helping students become better informed about the career decisions they’re facing!

Bookshare.org offers thousands of books to people with reading disabilities.

People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their reading style while enjoying virtual access to almost any book they need for school, work, or just the joy of reading.

As a volunteer, you can scan books that Bookshare doesn’t have in their collection — proofread files scanned by other volunteers and format them — or become a mentor and help raise awareness about their services!

Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 national crisis-intervention and counseling service conducted exclusively through SMS text.

Volunteers use the nonprofit’s web-based platform to provide emotional support to people dealing with issues like bullying, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and more.

Prospective volunteers go through screening and a self-paced training program. Once completed, volunteers sign up for one four-hour shift, each week, for a year.

Did you know more than 300,000 people volunteer every year in the Memphis metro area? It’s true.

You’re very likely one of them or know many of them. We want to thank those selfless volunteers for their service and that’s why we created the Volunteer Memphis Awards!

There are categories for volunteers of all ages. Individuals, civic groups, nonprofits, and corporate volunteers are all eligible. So take a minute and nominate someone for their selfless spirit here https://volunteermemphis.org/2020-volunteer-memphis-awards/.

Nominations are accepted through April 2020, but there’s no time like the present!

Whether producing our 9/11 Day of Remembrance for first responders, Make a Difference Day for caregivers, or MLK Days of Service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — Volunteer Memphis is proud to organize multiple Days of Service.

Now, we’re exploring the idea of a Virtual Day of Service! What would that look like to you? What are some impactful ideas we should consider as a part of our Virtual Day of Service?

Please pass along your ideas to ahill@leadershipmemphis.org.