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Friday, April 10, 2020 by Nina Hernandez
United Way announces ongoing volunteer opportunities
Each year, United Way for Greater Austin hosts a communitywide Spring Day of Action. This year, with the Covid-19 crisis, United Way decided a change-up was in order. The organization is now hosting a Spring Season of Caring and putting together a list of friendly volunteer opportunities with stay-at-home orders in place.
“In light of all that’s happened in the past few weeks, we really felt like we need something a little bit bigger, a bit different,” said Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez, corporate volunteer manager for United Way for Greater Austin. “So we decided to call it Season of Caring, and provide opportunities for people to pop in and connect virtually instead of just in-person.”
Community members can become a virtual senior buddy, which can include phone calls and grocery or prescription deliveries. People can donate blood at We Are Blood, the blood bank that is providing critical services during the pandemic. Other ways to help include natural disaster relief training, creating a thank-you video for HEB employees and supporting a child care center.
“Part of the work that we do at United Way is being connected with a lot of the nonprofits in the area,” Gutierrez-Ramirez said. “A lot of these are just relationships that we already had and thinking through what kind of support (needs) they have right now and how they might be different than before.”
United Way is also strongly encouraging those who are able to volunteer at the Central Texas Food Bank, which has been serving hundreds of families since the pandemic hit.
“The food bank is also really in need of volunteers right now,” said Gutierrez-Ramirez. “They’re usually working eight hours a day, six days a week, delivering food, packaging food. With the stay-at-home order, that number has really gone down. So anyone that’s healthy and has the opportunity to go out and volunteer,” please do.
One of Gutierrez-Ramirez’s co-workers at United Way has recently volunteered at the food bank and attests to the organization’s commitment to hygiene and social distancing practices for its volunteers and employees.
“Another really cool program is the ATX Covid-19 Exchange,” Gutierrez-Ramirez said. “It’s a great place for people that have connections to things like 3D printers, gloves or masks, or medical equipment, and get those into the hands of the people that need them most right now.”
“They’re doing a really good job of connecting the dots there,” she said.
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