xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Our View: Perfect time to help organizations in need of funds, volunteers

Among the most predictable casualties of the coronavirus pandemic has been fundraising. It’s difficult enough to raise money when so many are out of work and uncertain about the future. But the main mechanism for doing so — events such as breakfasts, dinners, dances, auctions, runs, walks, gatherings of any kind — don’t work in the time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Thus, Rape Crisis Intervention Service lost Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. And Carroll Hospice lost Taste of Carroll. And The Shepherd’s Staff lost Empty Bowls. And the volunteer fire companies have lost or are in danger of losing their summer carnivals. Many are trying creative new approaches, figuring out virtual ways to raise funds. But it’s not a good time to be an organization counting on money coming in from the those tried and true sources.

Advertisement

It couldn’t be worse timing for those in need of services. As Brenda Meadows, executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff, told us, her organization is facing “funding at an all-time low and need at an all-time high."

We encourage anyone who is able to reach out to local nonprofits or fire companies and give what they can, but we also realize that money might be more of a scarcity right now than time. Volunteering, even virtually, is also a major need. And, according to studies, volunteering also helps those doing the volunteering, Helpguide.org says volunteering connects people, it is good for mind and body, it can advance a career and it can bring fun and fulfillment to life.

Advertisement

One place to start is a list of local and nationwide virtual volunteering opportunities assembled by the United Way of Central Maryland, available at www.uwcm.org.

The list contains dozens of opportunities for various skill sets, including local initiatives. These include sewing masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through Maryland’s homeless population and recording one’s self reading books. The nationwide list is meant to cater to many abilities interests. Volunteers might be assisting law enforcement, transcribing and translating documents, providing career counseling, or lending a supportive listening ear.

Some more simple, family-friendly activities could involve making a window poster to thank first responders or writing letters to older adults who are feeling isolated.

“There’s definitely a lot of people who want to help right now. And they don’t know how, [so] we’re trying to give them those opportunities,” Beth Littrell, director of community engagement and volunteerism, told us. The list of virtual volunteering opportunities “gives people that chance to hone in on what they care about. It gives you a feeling of giving back during a time where it’s really chaotic and where you feel like there’s nothing you can do. But actually there is.”

We reported a story last week that included just a few Carroll-based organizations seeking help virtually. But many, many groups are in need.

Part of the mission of The United Way of Central Maryland is to fill in gaps in funding for local nonprofits. They are collecting donations as part of their COVID-19 Community Fund. Their help line at 211 is one of the central resources for those seeking resources and is staffed by trained social workers. Littrell told us she has seen that people are eager to contribute.

Said Littrell: “We want to make sure that people understand there are other ways that you can give back, or other ways that you can help right now that don’t involve having to put money into a fund.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement