In this period of social distancing, the new normal means we’re all living, learning and working differently. But while most of us are working remotely, many others are working outside the home to ensure essential needs are met.

April is National Volunteer Month. While we’re keeping our physical distance from one another for the health and safety of our communities, there are still plenty of ways you can do good for others.

Do you have spare stationary at home? Could a glue stick and a clean sheet of paper make a previously-enjoyed greeting card good-as-new? Set aside some time to reflect on your situation, identify things you’re grateful for, and write a note of encouragement for someone else.

Combat loneliness

Seniors, people who are homebound, veterans and people experiencing homelessness are likely feeling even more stress and loneliness during this global public health emergency. Connect with your local Meals on Wheels chapter, senior centers or a veterans organization and ask if you could mail them a package of notes and cards to distribute.

Logistics to consider

If you have stamps on hand, consider adding postage to the envelopes so the nonprofit doesn’t incur expenses when mailing the card to its clients.

Give thanks

From healthcare workers and first responders to restaurant workers and waste management crews, many people are still working outside the home as the entire world responds to the COVID-19 crises. Prepare thank you notes to show your gratitude for the essential workers who are keeping our communities running during these unprecedented times.

Logistics to consider

Coordinate with the organization in advance. Due to health and safety precautions, you may not be allowed to drop off or send cards and notes. If that’s the case, consider going digital. Express your gratitude and encouragement by writing a note on the organization’s social media accounts and other review sites like Google and Yelp. Use your cell phone to take a photo of the cards and coloring pages and include that with your post.

Make it a family affair

Do you find yourself juggling the demands of working and helping ensure your children are keeping up with virtual school? See if you can turn one of these opportunities into a family activity. Encourage your kiddos to draw a picture or tear a page from their coloring book and add it to the card.

More virtual volunteer ideas and resources

  • All for Good‡ – A database, provided by Points of Light, with thousands of volunteer opportunities, many of which can be completed remotely.
  • iCouldBe‡ – Provides high school students with an online community of professional mentors, empowering teens to stay in school, plan for future careers, and achieve in life.
  • Catchfire‡ – Provides access to flexible, virtual volunteer engagements that exercise your skills and support causes you hold dear.
  • Project Gutenberg‡ – Project Gutenberg has a library of more than 60,000 free eBooks. Volunteer by digitizing and proofreading eBooks for people to learn from and enjoy.
  • Microvolunteeringday‡ – Recognized annually on April 15, Microvolunteering Day promotes awareness of and enables worthy causes and individuals to better the world via bite-sized actions.

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