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How to Volunteer While Social Distancing | Peter Palivos, Attorney

How to Volunteer While Social Distancing | Peter Palivos, Attorney

Maintaining social distance doesn’t have to mean an end to community involvement. While in-person gatherings do pose a threat, it’s still possible to continue volunteering without risking COVID-19 transmission.

Crisis Lines

Crisis lines are an online mental health service for people experiencing mental health crises. Volunteers choose when to be available to answer texts from people in need. Crisis services need volunteers with counseling experience, but they’ll also provide training for compassionate, responsive people with good communication skills.

Online Translation

Fluency in multiple languages is an asset that many nonprofits look for in a volunteer. Translators Without Borders is a versatile online service that currently needs translations of medical documents, crisis responses, and other texts that help non-English speakers. For the more academically inclined, the Smithsonian Institute has a high volume of historical texts awaiting translation.


Sites like Upchieve set up students with volunteer tutors. Tutors make their own schedules and assist students in a variety of subjects. No teaching experience is necessary; volunteers need only have some academic knowledge and willingness to share it.


Donating to charities that need financial assistance is a fantastic way to contribute to community welfare from home. It’s up to the individual to decide which causes are most important, and how much money to give. Food, clothing and hygiene products are in high demand amid the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. Most cities have at least one food pantry that accepts these items and distributes them to low-income and homeless community members.

More Remote Ways to Help

Wellness check calls help isolated people feel connected and safe. There are also quite a few letter writing services that send cards with caring messages. The AARP distributes handmade arts and crafts to seniors who live alone.

Self-Guided Volunteerism

Finally, transitioning to socially distant volunteer work means many are practicing mutual aid in their own neighborhoods. This could mean an outdoor litter pickup in the mornings or a no-contact grocery drop-off for an elderly neighbor. When neighbors communicate individual needs with one another, volunteer opportunities naturally arise for those who are service-inclined.

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