Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I have heard from countless folks asking how they can give back to their community during this time of need. I know that throughout these difficult times
, people are looking for innovative ways to volunteer and I want to continue to help connect you with those opportunities. Specifically, I want to highlight the work done by the American Red Cross, the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, Feed More -- an organization that serves 34 counties and cities in the Commonwealth -- and the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank.
American Red Cross
One way you can get involved is, if you are eligible, donating blood to The American Red Cross. The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and is working constantly to carry out their lifesaving mission as well as supporting public health agencies to help communities prepare.
Their need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as we, as a nation, navigate this health crisis. Volunteer opportunities include supporting blood donations and delivering much-needed services to your community. They even have a wide variety of remote (work-from-home) opportunities available. The American Red Cross has an ongoing, critical need for blood and platelet donations amidst coronavirus uncertainties. You can make an appointment to give blood or platelets here: https://www.redcrossblood.org
Virginia Medical Reserve Corps
The Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is made up of teams of health professionals and community members
, working to assist our healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. The corps is seeking 30,000 medical and non-medical volunteers to provide support for the expected surge in hospitals and to help in long-term care facilities across Virginia.
MRC is a force of dedicated volunteers who stand ready to support the community in the event of a public health emergency. Each of the 22 local MRC units is comprised of teams medical and public health professionals who, along with interested community members, volunteer their skills, expertise and time to support ongoing public health initiatives and assist during emergencies throughout Virginia.
Almost anyone can apply for the MRC, and I strongly encourage you to look into assisting our community by joining a local unit today. More information here: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/mrc/faq/
Food Banks in our Region
Here are ways you can give back to folks in our region who are struggling with food security.
As a member of the Feeding America network of food banks, Feed More solicits, stores, and distributes large donations of food to organizations that feed hungry people. Their agencies are comprised of area non-profits to include soup kitchens, food pantries, care centers and meal programs. Feed More has a variety of opportunities available for folks who’d like to get involved. From sorting perishable and nonperishable donations to preparing and packaging food to delivering Meals on Wheels, there is something for just about everyone at Feed More. Click here to learn how you can volunteer today, https://feedmore.org/volunteer/, and click here to learn how you can give food to help their efforts, https://feedmore.org/give/.
In the Fredericksburg area, the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank (FRFB) is committed to feed the hungry through a community-wide network of partner agencies and engage our community in the fight to end hunger. In this era of social distancing, the FRFB is hosting virtual food drives through their website. More information on their virtual drives here: https://fredfood.fenly.org/drives/. If you are interested in donating your time through volunteer work, click here for ways you can get involved: https://www.fredfood.org/volunteer.
They are limiting the total number of volunteers in their building at any given time. It is important to sign up on the website in advance to ensure there will be a project for you upon arrival. (Walk-In volunteers may be asked to return at another time if the maximum number of volunteers has been met.) If you’re healthy and willing to volunteer, please signup today.
Next, I want to highlight the work being done by the Healthy Harvest Food Bank serving the Northern Neck and Upper Middle Peninsula. The mission of HHFB is to provide healthy, nutritious foods for those in need in the communities they serve. Over 95% of their operations go directly towards effort to feed those in need locally. For more information on how you can give back and get involved, click here for more from HHFB: https://www.hhfb.org/volunteer-opportunities/.
I also want to highlight the work being done by local churches and community organizations to feed those in need as well. This past weekend, I was honored to participate in the Gloucester area food distribution to local churches. Over 15 churches came together to pack and deliver bags of non-perishables to those that are home-bound during these difficult times.
Right now, the fight against COVID-19 will be won by communities, by neighbors, and by information. As we come together in these difficult times to help one another, while maintaining proper social distancing measures, we will come through this chapter of our nation’s history stronger than ever. I urge you to volunteer if you are able, or to give back in some way during these times.