Volunteers in Edmonton are finding ways to continue to give back to their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twice a week, Jordan Zabloski stops by The Mustard Seed for a few hours before beginning his work day.
Zabloski is one of many Edmontonians finding time to help vulnerable communities in between work and other responsibilities.
“There were other people who couldn’t volunteer anymore because they were seniors or had a pre-existing medical condition. We totally understand that.
“When others come forward to fill the gap it makes a huge difference to us.”
The organization Zabloski regularly volunteers at is currently shut down, which prompted him to reach out to The Mustard Seed.
Elsewhere, two longtime volunteers at iHuman Youth Society brainstormed ideas to help vulnerable youth without seeing them face-to-face.
“Their needs haven’t changed. They are vulnerable and they are still at risk. It just made sense to continue doing my work in a different capacity, just from home.”
“They came to us with the idea and our volunteer coordinator connected with them. That innovation is so helpful,” iHuman’s Matthew “Gus” Gusul said.
“It’s changed how we engage young people. We’ve switched to more virtual chats. We’re doing quite a good job. We’re able to get the young people’s needs met as smoothly as we can.”
Antonio said there are many ways to step up for the community.
“Sometimes you can feel helpless…like you don’t have resources to give. But your time is always valuable,” said Antonio.
“This is how we stay connected. This is a way we rise up as a community and continue to help all of the people in our city.”
It seems many Albertans are looking for ways to volunteer in the community, some for the first time. The Province’s new online tool Alberta Cares Connector saw thousands of people express interest, according to a Calgary organization that is looking for volunteers.
This week both Premier Jason Kenney and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw encouraged people who can volunteer, to do so safely.
“I think there is a misperception that observing the public health measures means not being able to help others,” Kenney said on Wednesday, adding earlier in the week he put in a shift preparing food at Edmonton’s Meals on Wheels.
“But healthy people can volunteer and are needed to volunteer for so many organizations, many of whom have lost many members of their volunteer base in recent days.”
Hinshaw echoed Kenney’s comments, saying the need for volunteers is greater than ever.
“I know that during COVID-19, volunteering may seem dangerous. Of course, volunteers must follow all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus for their own protection and the protection of those they help,” Alberta’s top doctor said while explaining there are online guidelines for how to do so safety.
“Kindness is contagious and our greatest strength during COVID-19 is each other.”
National Volunteer Week runs from April 19 to 25.View link »