United Way of Dane County is calling for volunteers during this global pandemic. The organization has dedicated a portion of their website for Dane County’s COVID-based needs, specifically.
Morghan Vélez, director of Corporate and Community Engagement at UWDC, said the company is mobilizing people in three ways: Tasks with social distancing restrictions in mind, donating latex gloves and masks; and company involvement. She said the need is unprecedented.
“Our systems are literally reforming themselves. For example our temporary housing structure, before COVID-19 many of us were use to chapters for temporary reasons; domestic violence shelter, veterans shelters, homeless shelters — now with the need to space people out for public health reasons now temporary housing must expand to more spaces. But there are not primary staff members to be available at those spaces,” Velez said. “So volunteering is crucial because the temporary housing system has had to reconfigure itself to abide by Public health and COVID-19. It is mind-blowing.”
Through the website, volunteers can sign up to deliver food for the YWCA or for Community Action Coalition which helps supply roughly 80 pantries in Dane County.
Volunteers can also sign up to translate for Al Olto Lado, which is a nonprofit legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees, is seeking volunteers to virtually translate legal and medical needs for people.
People can also sign up to donate latex gloves and masks, which on March 3, the World Health Organization stated there is a huge disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment of PPE for health care workers.
Velez added that area organizations are losing large portions of their normal volunteer force, as retirees are being asked to stay at home.
“Now that we again need to abide by public health standards, we must send our core volunteer population home and rethink who’s available for volunteering. So it’s more crucial because we have to rethink who is a volunteer,” Velez said.
As an organization that connects donors, nonprofits, churches and community organizations together every day of the year, it is well equipped to handle this redirection, said Karen Burch, vice president of community engagement and marketing.
“This is what we do. United Way of Dane County brings a community together for their wellbeing, whether it’s crisis time or whether it’s just every day,” Burch said. “Our main focus is the well-being of the community and this is happening on an everyday basis behind the scenes. This team is specifically doing this 24/7. This is their job. Right now, um, we are in extra alert mode because we have to get activated, since (COVID-19) is conquering a lot of health concerns in our community. The help is needed immediately.”
To volunteer or donate to area organizations visit www.volunteeryourtime.org.