Opportunities to Serve our Neighbors in Need in response to COVID-19 in Whatcom County
Honor public health recommendations
If you’re delivering supplies or food to a family or organization, follow the suggestion of social distancing – ring the doorbell and then move away from the door, text the recipient beforehand, leave items on the porch. And, of course, everyone should be doing all of the basics (handwashing, limiting exposure) to stay safe.
Feel connected through solo volunteering
Even if you’ve signed up for a solo volunteering opportunity – like delivering food to someone who needs it or distributing door hangers with information – know that the people you’re helping appreciate your outreach and you’re helping people feel connected. You’re also staying true to the health department’s suggestion of social distancing. But you can still share within the community and social media. Encourage others to join in the movement.
Look for opportunities that are limited in size
We want to help our neighbors. But doing so, first and foremost, means not spreading a dangerous virus. As you commit to volunteering with others, look to do so individually or in small groups (10 or less people).
Stay home when you are sick
This bears repeating no matter how obvious it seems. If you are not feeling well, please stay home and get well. There are ways to help from home. And, if we all do our part to stay healthy and prevent the virus from spreading, there will be plenty of volunteers to help in all the ways that are needed.
— from VOMO’s Be a Neighbor Campaign
Bellingham COVID-19 Community Helpers Facebook Group
The Community Helpers page was created with the idea of connecting healthy neighbors to neighbors who are in need directly through a Facebook group. Helpers are organized by neighborhood, and there are analogous Community Helper sites set up for communities across the county. A great resource for live, grassroots connection across the community!
The Volunteer Center of Whatcom County
The Opportunity Council’s Volunteer Center is recruiting volunteers for their COVID-19 response through partner agencies and disaster response officials, and will distribute appropriate match opportunities to screened and eligible volunteers. You can sign up by clicking on this link or going to the Volunteer Center’s Website.
Whatcom Unified Command
The centralized Whatcom County COVID-19 community response body is taking information from potential volunteers on its website according to whether volunteers have health training or other skills, abilities, and certifications.
The Nextdoor App
Nextdoor is a neighborhood-based social media app: a great resource in times like this! They have launched two new tools as part of their effort to support during this crisis: a Help Map, where you can volunteer to help a neighbor in need, and Nextdoor Groups, to assist in geographically-based organizing to help with neighborhood needs, or to just mitigate the impact of social distancing. Now is a great time to join Nextdoor if you’re not already a part of the online version of your physical community!
Whatcom Love INC
Call volume at the Whatcom Love INC Call Center is up 1000% as a result of this crisis, and so we are in urgent need of volunteers who can help with call backs, and volunteers who can be a phone friend to vulnerable and disabled people who have become especially isolated as a result of this crisis. Volunteers are also needed for research and communication projects to help coordinate and resource church responses in our community. Use this link to sign up.
Whatcom Love INC is using the volunteer mobilization platform VOMO to help coordinate volunteer efforts. VOMO has made its platform available for FREE to organizations who want to develop and coordinate volunteer opportunities in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and also for potential volunteers. You can learn more at https://beaneighborcampaign.com/
We encourage you to reach out to a pastor or spiritual leader, and let them know about willingness to serve and the kinds of skills that you have to offer. While your spiritual leader may not know where to plug you in off hand, they may have an idea about some good avenues to explore, and just alerting them to the fact that you are there and wanting to respond to needs in the broader community will help build a sense of capacity and shape your faith community’s contribution to our common effort to weather and rebuild.