If the pandemic seems interminable and you’re at a loose end wishing there was something you could do to help, there are organizations—including the federal government—looking for volunteers during COVID-19. They will match you with people in need or activities suited to your skills, including some that don’t even require you to leave your house (unless you want to, of course).
Here are some groups you might want to contact:
National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
The Government of Canada is looking for volunteers to help with case tracking and contact tracing; health system surge capacity; case data collection and reporting.
It needs people with a wide variety of experiences and expertise so it can build an inventory of volunteers for provincial and territorial governments to draw upon as needed. Most of the work will be done remotely from home, work hours are flexible, and schedules will be based on needs and availabilities provided. Closing date to apply is this Friday, April 24.
Incorporated as a society in 1979, Volunteer BC provides a list of more than 35 volunteer centres in communities throughout B.C.. These local centres should know your community’s specific needs and be better able to connect you with individuals and families who need support, in a safe environment. Volunteer BC also suggests organizations that may be looking for volunteers, but it cautions against organizing or joining an informal volunteer group.
Managed by not-for-profit Vantage Point, formerly known as Volunteer Vancouver, since 2003 Go Volunteer has connected more than 1.8 million volunteers with not-for-profits and charities across B.C.
Geocoded maps help people find volunteer opportunities in their neighbourhood. It’s simple, free, and has 22 categories to choose from, including COVID-19 and Virtual Work.
Vancouver Coastal Health
VCH is screening for COVID-19 volunteers, aiming to match their interests with general support roles as they become available. It notes that many roles take place on weekdays, and volunteers do not provide direct patient care or assist in patient care areas.
To be contacted by a coordinator, those interested are asked to complete an application confirming they are 18 or older, able to work independently, live in Greater Vancouver, speak English (a second language is also helpful), and will provide two pieces of ID and references, plus a criminal record check when requested.
The Vancouver-based nonprofit bc211 specializes in providing information and referrals related to community, government, and social services in B.C. Its new Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials to volunteers in their community who are willing to help.
The Health and Home Care Society of BC supports seniors, people living with disabilities or recovering from injuries, and other homebound individuals at risk of being isolated. Its Meals on Wheels program is always looking for volunteer drivers and servers to deliver hot meals to Vancouver and Richmond residents and check on their safety. Shifts are flexible, between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Coming Together Vancouver
Coming Together Vancouver is a group of community members who created a mutual aid network to connect neighbours looking for help to those giving help during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidelines but notes that all interactions are at your own risk.
It has also created a Survival Fund for the People to provide immediate financial aid to help Vancouverites meet basic needs such as buying food, filling prescriptions, and paying utility bills.
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