How to get involved with volunteering: during a global pandemic

In the age of a pandemic, one may find it difficult to discover volunteering opportunities. Scavenging the internet, search after search, you may be frustrated when you can’t find ways to give back to the community you gain so much from. Look no further! Here are some volunteer opportunities for both students who desire to get hands-on and students who desire to help from the comfort of their own homes.

Hai Huynh, the Community Projects Coordinator for the Coralville Food Pantry, works with fruits and vegetables.

Places to volunteer

Houses Into Homes: Providing households in need with essential furniture, Houses Into Homes makes a difference in the lives of those in our community. Houses Into Homes is accepting new volunteers. Volunteers can be tasked with sorting items, moving items, or even pick up and delivery. To submit an application, go to housesintohomes.org to get a form and waiver.

Table To Table: Table To Table is an organization that helps give back to our community without wasting food. Their mission is to keep wholesome, edible food from going to waste by collecting it from donors and distributing it to people and places that are in need. You can help out by volunteering as a food rescue volunteer or a shop volunteer. Shop volunteers may be asked to prepare vans, clean, or make checklists, while food rescue volunteers may need to interact with donors or recipients, box and load donations, or transport food. To get involved with Table To Table, email them at volunteer@table2table.org where you can set up an interview!

If someone can’t donate money, they can donate their time and help others by volunteering.”

— Claire Widmer '22

CommUnity: CommUnit is a food bank that distributes food all over Johnson county helping people in need get food at no cost. It also serves as a crisis center that helps treat those who need help. CommUnity has helped thousands of residents in Johnson county especially during times of need like COVID. CommUnity offers a mobile crisis outreach program and support groups as well as many other things like suicide prevention training, the food bank, a mobile food pantry, and a basic needs program. To get involved with CommUnity, go to their website https://builtbycommunity.org where you can sign up to volunteer.

Coralville Food Pantry: Coralville Food Pantry distributes donated food to families and places in need. Their goal is to ensure that every child and adult in our community gets the food they need and deserve. They not only distribute nutritious food but give people the means and resources they need for them to start growing their own food. CFP invites people to volunteer and gives back to their community. They have people do simple things like stoking and delivering. To get involved with the Coralville Food Pantry, email paola@coralvillefoodpantry.org.

People Who Volunteer

Zoe Smith ’24 Houses Into Homes: “I didn’t think that I would enjoy doing it, but actually, it’s really fun. And the best part is just seeing the impact you can make in people’s lives.” Smith said. Smith volunteers at Houses Into Homes where she picks out bedding, organizes items, and makes deliveries.

Lilly Graham ‘24 Food Pantry: “Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of big issues in the world that are difficult to tackle but volunteering is a great way to make an impact in your community and feel like you’re helping out.” Graham said. Graham volunteers at the Food Pantry where she sorts and bags food for families to come and pick up.

Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of big issues in the world that are difficult to tackle but volunteering is a great way to make an impact in your community and feel like you’re helping out.”

— Lilly Graham '24

Lydia Cui ‘22 North Liberty Community Pantry: “It’s a great way to give back to the community! you can definitely expect to meet new people both in your grade and outside.” Said Cui. Cui volunteers at the North Liberty Community Pantry two times a week where she enjoys having conversations with customers.

Claire Widmer ‘22 Table To Table: “I love being able to save so much food and feed others in the process.” Said Widmer. Widmer volunteers at Table To Table as often as she can. Widmer has helped rescue over 1,000 pounds of food in one day while volunteering at Tabe To Table and hopes to continue in the future. “If someone can’t donate money, they can donate their time and help others by volunteering.”

Clubs and Silver Cord

1440 Interact Club: There are 1,440 minutes in a day, each of which can be spent making a difference. 1440 Interact Club is a group of individuals who work to make a difference together. While in a normal year the club would be giving members the opportunity to volunteer in person, this year they have opted to stay online. Every week the club meets and listens to speakers, makes cards, or finds other ways to volunteer in the safety of their own homes. To join, email club leader Fareeha Ahmad ‘21 at faahm21@icstudents.org.

Silver cord: The Silver cord program is a way for students to get recognized for their volunteer work. Once a student has completed 200 hours of volunteer work, they will be awarded a silver cord to wear at their graduation. Silver cord hours should be done with community volunteer service meaning that the work is non-profit. Silver cord forms can be found at school in the guidance office or requested online and must be signed by a volunteer supervisor.