Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/24/20- In an era of social distancing, VolunteerMatch is leveraging its website and social media channels to highlight helpers who are the heart and soul of our communities. This week, they launched the “We Heart Helpers Initiative and Fund, asking the community to support volunteers and nonprofits who need a little extra financial help to weather this storm. “There has quite possibly never been a time in recent history when our country, and our world, need the generosity of volunteers as much as we do today. In the US alone, today, VolunteerMatch’s network of nonprofits is using our site to recruit for upwards of 220,000 volunteers for local, hands-on opportunities related to COVID-19 — and over 700,000 volunteers are also needed to help through virtual and online volunteering. During National Volunteer Week, we are honored to have a moment to celebrate the dedication of the volunteers who are so desperately needed. They truly form the backbone of our communities. And we’re fortunate to be able to lift up the stories of these organizations and leaders who are changing our world.”- CEO Greg Baldwin of VolunteerMatch.
VolunteerMatch is leveraging its website and social media channels to highlight helpers who are the heart and soul of our communities. Tell us about your initiative.
At VolunteerMatch, every day we’re inspired by stories of people who volunteer to help others. Even now, while social distancing is keeping us physically apart, we’re hearing stories of generosity and hope that remind us that in many ways we’ve never been more connected.
We launched the #WeHeartHelpers movement, inspired by those wonderful words from Mr. Fred Rogers, who reminded us that in times of crisis we should, “Look for the helpers.” Our initiative seeks to shine a light on the many great stories of kindness and compassion emerging organically out there. We’re using our website and social media channels to collect and share stories — from the front line healthcare workers treating patients throughout this COVID-19 crisis, to the back offices of our local shelters seeking to ensure continuity of care for our most vulnerable citizens. We’re hopeful and confident that together, we can emerge more resilient out of this difficult time.
Today, there will be a release of a curated book list targeted specifically to the volunteer sector. Tell us more.
Absolutely! Today is World Book Day, and as a special thank you to all those who volunteer and love to read, we are delighted to share a list of inspirational, insightful books related to service that everyone from kids through adults can enjoy. The list is graciously curated by noted analyst, attorney and author Bakari Sellers. And, I understand the first 50 people to follow and comment on the book list post on our Instagram at @VolunteerMatch will receive Bakari’s new memoir, My Vanishing Country. Thanks Bakari!
You have a Live Zoom Panel on Friday at 1 PM with April Ryan, White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Network, and CNN Political Analyst. Tell us about the panel.
Yes we do! This panel rounds out our special National Volunteer Week programming with a discussion guided by April of folks directly working on efforts related to the COVID-19 crisis, and promises to be full of wisdom and hopefulness. We will have a special presentation from Dr. Joseph Herrera, who has been working tirelessly on the front lines at Mt. Sinai. And, we’ll hear from actress, coach and philanthropist AJ Johnson, who has been working directly with individuals experiencing mental wellness issues as a result of this crisis. Grey Cohen, the dynamic young founder of The Meal Bridge will share her journey in finding creative solutions to difficult problems through this crisis, as will our own Laura Plato, Chief Solutions Officer here at VolunteerMatch. And, finally, we’re so pleased to welcome two primary school teachers, Mita Ponce from the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Jose Ponce from the Inglewood Unified School District, who will help us understand how this crisis is affecting the next generation. I hope everyone will be able to join us.
Do you have any additional thoughts?
This crisis has really affected our nonprofit sector in a dramatic way – we have seen many organizations making Herculean efforts to pivot to virtual volunteering and to shore up their in-person volunteering efforts to align to social distancing and CDC guidelines. We’ve seen as high as 93% of volunteering cancelled. It’s an enormous amount of pressure for these leaders and it’s going to take all of us to ensure the people and causes out there who need volunteers get them, when and where they need them most. Thank you for helping me share that story!
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