How to volunteer from home while maintaining distance during coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is placing major strains on every industry, including the nonprofit and volunteering sector.

Stay-at-home orders across the country have taken away this critical workforce, said Natalye Paquin, president of Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.

"We know that over 50% of nonprofits say that 75% of their workforce is from volunteer service, and so we believe that every person, depends on a volunteer at some point in their life," Paquin said.

Yet social distance doesn't need to stop volunteers from helping: Many can make an impact from their own homes.

Points of Light has a search function that lets prospective volunteers search for opportunities based on location and interest.

Many of these opportunities can be accomplished remotely, like working for a crisis hotline, writing letters to senior citizens, reading bedtime stories to children and tutoring English to refugees.

"This volunteer opportunity gives me the chance to connect from the comfort of my home with other human beings who might be feeling lonely or isolated," said Kelly Groen, who volunteers with Spark the Change Colorado.

Parents looking to get their kids involved can have them create messages of support for frontline workers during the pandemic.

"It meant the world to me, it really did. The fact that it came from children pulls at my heartstrings," said Maureen Luna, CEO of The Pantry Broward who received messages through HandsOn Broward.
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