COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities

United Way is monitoring the needs of our community and focusing efforts to organize volunteer opportunities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the most timely and safe manner possible. 

To that end, we’ve assembled a list of ways to volunteer – from supporting local non-profits providing essential community needs, to virtual volunteer opportunities that keep you involved while staying home. We know the best way to get through this is together!

We will be updating this page regularly with projects and opportunities as our community’s needs change and develop. Have a need or an idea for a volunteer project you’d like to see posted here, contact info@uwlakes.org.

Community members are encouraged to help support community needs created by the Coronavirus outbreak, but we ask that you keep the following in mind:

  • Honor the public health recommendations. If you’re delivering supplies or food to a family or organization, follow the suggestion of social distancing – ring the doorbell and move away from the door, text them beforehand, etc.
  • Feel connected through solo volunteering. Even if you’ve signed up for a solo volunteering opportunity – like delivering food to someone who needs it or distributing door hangers with information – know that the people you’re helping appreciate your outreach and you’re helping people feel connected. You’re also staying true to the health department’s suggestion of social distancing.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Of course, you should be doing all of the things to stay safe – hand washing, limiting exposure, etc. – but this one deserves a second shout out. If you are not feeling well, please stay home and get well. Thanks to people who think like you, there will be plenty of volunteers out there to help when needed.

 


Promote 211, the information services and crisis intervention line – make sure your friends and neighbors know that they can call 2-1-1 at any time of the day to find help and resources by sharing 211 information on your social media page.


Research Resources: 211 resourcing volunteers communicate with local agencies to ensure that the information contained in the 211 database is timely, accurate, and relevant. This role is performed virtually using a phone, computer, and Microsoft Excel, and training is provided. Sign up


Deliver groceries for older adults. ElderCircle is seeking a willing volunteer who lives near the Itasca County – Aitkin County border. To get set up as a no-contact delivery volunteer, call 218-999-9233 or email ecircle@eldercircle.org. Safety equipment and mileage reimbursement are provided.


Say thank you – express your support for the first responders, medical personnel, and troops who are working to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Send notes to Operation Gratitude, where letters will be screened and distributed, or email to COVIDdonations@EssentiaHealth.org.


Advocate for a relief response that doesn’t leave anyone, or the services they depend on, behind. Tell your political representatives how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted you and your community and urge political action.


Make masks – Medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers are in need of masks. Make sure to follow specific instructions for sewing masks (different organizations may have different standards for protective equipment) and adhere to drop off guidelines:


Write a letter – many seniors, at high risk for coronavirus infection, are currently isolated in nursing homes and hospitals that are restricting visitors. Brighten someone’s day by sending a card or letter. This makes a great activity for kids who are out of school, but people of all ages can participate!


Become a Virtual Visit FriendVirtual Visit friends chat with seniors over video chat, helping to combat loneliness and isolation. Sign up


Help record history! The Smithsonian needs volunteers to help transcribe historical documents and data. If you’re bored while staying at home, this is a great way to occupy yourself while learning something new!


Get some fresh air and help the DNR track lake levels, loon populations, and invasive species. These activities can be done by individuals or individual households, and it is safe to go outside as long as you keep your distance from others.


Help out with a research project on Zooniverse. Lend your expertise, or learn something new – with a multitude of subjects, there’s bound to be something to interest you!


Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.


Clean up your environment. Take a walk and pick up litter along trails or by the side of the road. Adhere to social distancing guidelines and follow these tips to stay safe.


Donate food and/or basic necessities. Community members have been setting up pop-up pantries in their communities, filling Little Free Libraries with food, household, and personal care items for families and individuals to take and use, no questions asked. To contribute, collect items and deposit them in a pop-up pantry like the one near the Itasca County Historical Society or set one up yourself.


More Ways to Take Action


Donate blood! Blood supplies are low and in great need during this crisis. Contact United Way to learn more about upcoming blood drives in the area!


Get Counted! Ensure a full and accurate 2020 Census! Help Minnesota secure the federal resources it needs to support critical services for its communities. Your participation will guide the distribution of billions of dollars across the state.


Join a volunteer pool! Trina Jacobson is working with Second Harvest Food Bank and Eldercircle to compile a list of volunteers ready to respond to needs in the community as they arise. Email trina@purplepinecone.com to be included. You are not obligated to volunteer if asked.