By: Karen Secord
Never has it been more true that more hands make light work. Trust us, we want your helping hands! However, Covid-19 has forced us to step back and re-evaluate how best to engage with volunteers during these unprecedented times. For everyone’s safety we have sought expert advice and we are committed to following it, no matter how much we miss you.
By now we all know the rules; they are ingrained in our minds. We must not be any closer than six feet to someone we do not live with and there should not be more than five people assembled together. Clearly, we recognized early on, it is not possible to have any more than five staff in our space, pack orders and safely obey the physical distancing rules. We also realized that delivering food using very strict protocols is the only way to keep everyone safe.
Sadly, age plays a significant role in the types of jobs we might engage volunteers in. Ottawa Public Health has been quite clear in their directive that anyone immune-compromised or over the age of 70, should stay home for their own safety. Volunteer Ottawa refers to younger volunteers as doing “COVID-19 Light Touch Volunteering”- jobs that can be performed with minimal contact, such as pick-up and delivery services for vulnerable individuals.
For our volunteers that are over 55 jobs could include:
- Write notes of encouragement to our neighbours who are living in isolation;
- Engage in phone calls with our neighbours who are living in isolation and would like a phone call from time to time;
- Grow vegetables in their gardens for PFC to distribute during Food Bank;
- Establish the PFC Garden – conduct a spring clean, weed and prepare the beds for planting, plant seedlings, plants, etc. and maintain the gardens; and
- Write to MPs to lobby for additional funding for Food Banks.
- Raise funds within your networks, perhaps using an online platform, so that we can continue to offer our neighbours extra food to get them through this challenging time.
If any of these jobs appeal to you please email: firstname.lastname@example.org