Serving Others During COVID-19

Monday, January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. It is the only federal holiday set aside as a national day of service. AmeriCorps has been charged by the federal government to create opportunities for citizens to serve others, and provide ways to communicate those opportunities.  As AmeriCorps puts it, MLK Day is “a day on, not a day off.”

This MLK Day, however, is a bit different from those past. How do we serve when we cannot gather? AmeriCorps has compiled a list of 10 Ways to Serve During COVID-19:

Donate to Nonprofits 
Cash donations are the best way to support the nonprofit of your choice. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has a list of organizations supporting COVID-19 response efforts. Guidestar and Great Nonprofits also have search engines to locate organizations that need help.  (Donate to Cornerstone)

Donate or Volunteer Safely with Food Banks and Pantries 
Donate to food banks and pantries to help them stock up or volunteer at a food bank that needs help packing and sorting food using safe practices. Visit Feeding America or Food Pantries to find an organization near you.

Deliver Meals and Groceries to Vulnerable Seniors 
Help out someone you know or contact your local Meals on Wheels to learn ways to volunteer.

Help a School 
Check with your area school system to see if they need volunteers to distribute food (or other items) to children and families in need. (Cornerstone staff members are on campus for food distribution 3 days per week, providing meals for anyone in the community with children 18 and under. Each child receives 2 meals per day, for 2-3 days, in each package. This includes our Cornerstone families, of course, but we do not ask for any qualifications when people come for meals.)

Give Blood
Blood donations have decreased dramatically. Help fill the need by contacting your local Red Cross or other blood donation sites.

Become a Medical Volunteer 
Trained medical volunteers can offer their services by registering with a National VOAD member. Medical professionals and others can help locally by joining the Medical Reserve Corps or registering through the Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.

Donate Medical Supplies and Equipment 
If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please email FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center at nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov.

Stay in Touch
Check on your neighbors, friends, and family – especially those who are older or may be alone. A phone call, text, or a conversation through the door could brighten their day.

Serve in Your Community 
Many states are identifying local volunteer opportunities; visit your State Service Commission’s website for details.

Volunteer from Home
Prefer to volunteer while staying at home? Check out AllForGood.org for service ideas.

Cornerstone still has a need for volunteers in our SOAR reading initiative. What better way to celebrate Dr. King than to make a commitment to a young person and help them thrive in reading? Click here for more information.

What will you do to serve the community on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and honor the legacy of Dr. King? We sincerely hope you will do something awesome with your “day on!”