Did you know? It's National Volunteer Week in the United States - a time to consider getting involved and doing your part to help your community. Whether this means cleaning up a local park, or helping feed the hungry, there are plenty of opportunities to give back. And now more than ever, this type of action is needed.
A recent White House proclamation stated the following: "We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another. Volunteers provide all three. Service — the act of looking out for one another — is part of who we are as a Nation. Our commitment to service reflects our understanding that we can best meet our challenges when we join together. This week, we recognize the enduring contributions of our Nation’s volunteers and encourage more Americans to join their ranks."
If this sentiment rings true to you, then we ask you to consider getting involved this National Volunteer Week, and more specifically, getting involved with Macomb County. Two programs in particular are in need of support.
The Macomb Food Program needs volunteers as the number of people facing food insecurity has grown since the beginning of the pandemic. Program leaders are asking for volunteers to help with packing food boxes that are then distributed to local pantries. Interested individuals can sign up for Monday through Friday slots by clicking here. Note that there are safety protocols in place for volunteers, including mask-wearing, social distancing and self-screening. However, if you'd rather do something different like donate or host a food drive, you can learn more about those options by clicking here.
Another initiative in need of volunteers is Meals on Wheels, a program operated by the Macomb County Office of Senior Services.
"Volunteers for our program are able to give back in a major way by battling hunger and ensuring proper nutrition," said Jon Carolin, volunteer coordinator. "Seniors in our community need help now more than ever. Because of our volunteers, seniors enjoy a hot nutritious meal keeping them happy and healthy."
Volunteers for Meals on Wheels are asked to commit to a regular schedule of at least twice per month (once every other week). Meals are delivered Monday-Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Interested individuals can sign up by completing an application here. Safety protocols are in place and volunteers are expected to complete a symptom questionnaire, wear a mask and keep at least 6 feet distance while delivering to seniors.
"Meals on Wheels has continued to deliver hot and nutritious meals to seniors during this unprecedented time," said Carolin. "The pandemic's impact has been massive for seniors in our community. So many have felt the economic impact as well as the impact of consistent quarantines. The meals delivered by volunteers provide stability and an assurance that seniors are fed during this time."
For those who are interested but unable to make that level commitment, a donation option is available. The Office of Senior Services also accepts volunteer groups from churches, businesses and social clubs looking to do one time service projects. Contact Jon Carolin for details.
If neither of these opportunities is right for you, that's okay. There are plenty of ways to volunteer and help your community this week (and beyond!). A great starting place for finding volunteer work is https://www.volunteermatch.org/. From animal organizations to tutoring services, there are a wide variety of places looking for support. The MMYH blog would like to thank you in advance for doing your part to help your neighbor.
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.