Timely Volunteer Opportunities in NW Calgary
November 17, 2020 by University District
Make community connections meaningful!
The approaching holiday season is going to be a more challenging one than ever for many in our community as we live with the impact of Covid-19 and related restrictions on our lives. Setting aside some time to volunteer! This may be one of the most useful things you can do in the remainder of 2020. Or as we prepare for volunteering in 2021.
A culture of volunteering proved to be alive and well in NW Calgary at the time of our blog post Giving Back: 5 Places to Volunteer in NW Calgary.
While some of these options may be impractical at present, so many other opportunities to lend a hand are now more important than ever! Can you pick up groceries? Drop off a food delivery? Or walk a dog? Perhaps, make a friendly telephone call? Write a blog? Or make a mask?
Read on to learn of some ways you can help others in our community at this time!
Calgary Seniors Resource Society
Calgary Seniors Resource Society’s been mobilizing volunteers to provide essential services to seniors for more than 25 years. Now — with COVID-19 concerns continuing through winter — its need for volunteers has greatly increased. Many of those most impacted and at the highest risk are our seniors. Seniors are concerned about their health. How can they get the day to day items — like food and medications — they depend on? Calgary Seniors has modified its current Seniors Social Support Programs to offer a fast, effective volunteer-delivered set of services to keep the help coming.
“Our organization is trying to adapt as best as we can and things have been changing frequently with regulations and the ever-changing needs of our seniors,” says Anastasia Penner, a program coordinator at Calgary Seniors Resource Society. “Right now, we are looking for volunteers for everything from taking seniors to a medical appointment, to social support, to little things, like yard work, snow removal, or fixing a computer. We are also looking for people to take a senior grocery shopping and help them get there and back home safely or alternatively to drop off groceries for the senior at their door. Volunteers are needed too who are willing to phone or visit seniors and see how they are doing and just provide a friendly reassuring voice to talk to.
“It is our hope that everything will work out and everyone will get through this together. We are beyond grateful to all the individuals who are willing to help us out during this time.”
Other volunteering opportunities at Calgary Seniors Resource Society include:
- Practical Kindness volunteers who will be responding to urgent requests from vulnerable seniors including one-time transportation (urgent but not medical, examples: bank, pharmacy, etc.)
- Caring Companion volunteers are sought to provide social support to a senior to allow their caregiver to have a much-needed break.
- Pet Assist, Shopping Companion, Essential Transportation, and Friendly Check-in phone volunteers are among the other types sought.
- Under-18’s, those who can send seniors care-mail such as coloured pictures, letters, stickers, and more are also sought.
For more information and to apply, visit the Calgary Senior Resource Society here!
I Can for Kids
Local, local, local! I Can for Kids is a Calgary movement we at U/D have been proud to support over the years to relieve the effects of summer hunger for vulnerable children in our community.
Our local grocery retailer Save-On-Foods is collaborating with the charity with its Feed Kids Now campaign. They set a $1-million fundraising goal and pledge $500,000 dollars to help meet the target! Donate online or in-store at Save-On-Foods to feed kids during the COVID-19 crisis.
While I Can for Kids is not currently accepting volunteer applicants, there are ways to help. For more information, visit I Can for Kids.
The Leftovers Foundation is one of Western Canada’s largest food rescue charities with a dual mission of reducing food waste and increasing food access through community mobilization. Its goal is to ensure edible food is kept out of the landfill and instead is redirected into the hands of those who need it most.
Due to current health concerns, many food businesses are suspending operations. At the same time, access to food is difficult for many members of our community. Whether it’s students who have been isolated from their only meals of the day, seniors who are at risk every time they leave home, or the many who have recently lost their jobs due to this crisis, there is an unprecedented need for access to food.
“Volunteers are the backbone of our food rescue program at Leftovers, reducing food waste and alleviating hunger in our community by rescuing excess edible food from businesses and delivering it to local service agencies,” says Leftovers Foundation’s Operations VP, Heidi Bench. “Our current volunteer opportunities include drivers to pick up and deliver food donations, as well as warehouse volunteers to help us with our weekly distributions on Thursday afternoons. Sign up to our app to see all volunteer opportunities.”
Are you able to volunteer to help out those individuals and families who may be facing even more challenges with accessibility to food? Sign-up at Leftovers Rescue Food app which can be downloaded in Google Play or the App Store!
Royal Legion of Canada, Bowness
In the spirit of our recent celebration of Remembrance Day, are you available to help a veteran in need? Are you willing to offer support by:
- dropping off care packages?
- grocery shopping and delivering food?
- walking dogs?
- helping with little things like changing a light bulb?
- fixing a computer?
- or maybe just by talking?
Contact the Legion to get involved in making the lives of veterans better via email here.
In-Person or Remote Volunteering!
If you are volunteering in person, please read this Public Health Volunteer Checklist and learn about the recommended practices and protocols during this time. If you opt not to volunteer in person at this time, or this does not fit your lifestyle, Virtual Volunteering and Micro Volunteering present alternative options!
More and more, organizations are engaging people who want to contribute their skills and time via the Internet, so maybe volunteering virtually is for you?
Virtual volunteering is via computers, tablets, or smartphones. Virtual volunteers complete one-time, short-term, or ongoing tasks and projects. Choose to volunteer once, to write an ongoing blog, or to develop a website over a few months.
- Immigrant Services Calgary is among the organizations offering virtual volunteer opportunities. Contact them and learn more here.
- Mary’s Meals, a Calgary based charity that provides life-changing meals to some of the world’s poorest children is currently looking for a Social Media Team Lead. Find out more here.
- Project Northern Lights is a grassroots community organization co-creating sustainable solutions for marginalized communities. It is looking for Fundraising Coordinators to help support its COVID First Nations Protection Initiative. Find out more here.
Check Virtual Connector for opportunities that match your skills.
Micro-volunteering opportunities call for a short time commitment. They can usually be completed quickly. Even, from the comfort of your home. For example, initiatives that support the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, such as Make Masks YYC which makes and donates masks and the YYC COVID-19 Volunteers community group.
Search for micro-volunteering opportunities on Alberta Cares Connector.
Around University District
Here are some more non-profit foundations and support operations based in and around U/D seeking such micro-volunteering or support through donations.
- MindFuel, helping bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to life for young minds from K–12.
- Vecova, promoting good health and wellbeing for Albertans of all abilities.
- Ronald McDonald House, providing a home-away-from-home for families who need to travel for medical reasons.
Whatever type of volunteering piques your interest, there are always opportunities for us to give back. Let’s support others who are vulnerable or less fortunate! Especially at this challenging time.
Remember to follow government health advice so you can stay healthy and continue to help others! Do you have a volunteering story to share? Drop us a line or tag us on social media so we can learn more. Let’s inspire others in and around U/D. Let’s connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.