Memphis group in need of volunteers amid COVID-19 pandemic

Memphis group in need of volunteers amid COVID-19 pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis needs volunteers more than ever. While there are still some in-person volunteers needed, much of the work is being done remotely.

Memphis is known as a giving city. To mark its bicentennial, Memphians dedicated a year to service volunteering more than 100,000 hours of their time according to Volunteer Odyssey. Now, that group needs Memphians to step up like they always have with both in person and remote volunteer opportunities.

“Everyone has something to contribute, whether you feel comfortable leaving your home or you want to volunteer from home,” Volunteer Odyssey Executive Director Sarah Petschonek said.

From home, Petschonek said nonprofits are in need of people to make masks and volunteers are needed to send letters of hope to patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The most need is in person at the dozens of food distribution sites.

“If you’re healthy, in the low risk category from the CDC, we would love to have you volunteer, if you feel comfortable with it, at some of these essential services like the food distribution sites,” Petschonek said.

“So we thought about what does service look like now? And we realized service is slowing the spread of the virus,” Executive Director and VP of City Year Memphis Dr. Catherine Cushinberry said.

Many service organizations have had to adjust their normal to a virtual normal. City Year Memphis, a division of Americorps, usually has members in schools around the county.

“Sometimes I’m a hair stylist, sometimes I’m a motivational coach,” City Year member Jakayla Hickson said. “It just depends on what the kids need.”

While City Year members are there to support students and staff, they are continuing to do that just now it’s over the phone.

“Phone calls last two to three hours depending on the family,” Hickson said. “I personally love it because I still get to connect with the families. We have a saying, service doesn’t stop.”

For a list of volunteer opportunities through Volunteer Odyssey, click here.

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