Volunteer opportunities returning for charities in the Springfield area

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 11:44 AM CDT
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Volunteering abruptly stopped once the pandemic began in the Ozarks. Nearly a year later, non-profits are welcoming back volunteers.

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri suspended volunteer activities during the pandemic. The charity kept its garden going since it allowed for social distancing. Organizers usually use volunteers for many other areas, including Lifehouse Crisis Maternity Home. It houses up to 16 pregnant women or new mothers at a time, plus children. It’s near capacity. Volunteers assist with things like cooking meals, answering phones, providing child care, and driving residents to appointments and other places, because many don’t have their own cars.

As COVID-19 cases drop and more become vaccinated, charity leaders say they are finding some volunteers are ready to come back, but they have a need for many more.

“We’re seeing quite a few come back,” said Jill Bryant, Catholic Charities volunteer services manager. “Not all of the ones that we used to have. Some of them are in that higher risk category. They’re retired, they’re just not quite ready to get back out. Others have been chomping at the bit, waiting for us to say okay, you can come back in. And it’s been wonderful to see those faces, and honestly, new faces.”

Give Five, a United Way program educating retirees about volunteer opportunities in Springfield, has been doing virtual classes, and they’re seeing a steady stream of folks interested in volunteering. President and CEO Greg Burris says in the last graduating class, each person averaged three volunteer commitments.

“That’s pretty remarkable that an online class resulted in that kind of connectivity,” says Burris. “And that tells us, there’s a real hunger on behalf of people. They want to get out. They want to get reconnected in the community.”

To learn more about Give 5, call (417)425-4653 or visit https://give5program.org/

To learn more about volunteering for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, call (417)720-4213 or visit https://ccsomo.org/

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