Volunteering During a Public Health Crisis

On March 21st, 2020, one of Boston Cares’ board members, Nikki Levy, joined hundreds of other volunteers (split into small groups) in distributing information on resources available to people during COVID-19. This project was organized by the City of Boston, which is one of the agencies Boston Cares is partnering with to support volunteer recruitment and management during the public health crisis. One of our values at Boston Cares is to be ready to respond to changing community needs, nimble enough to leverage real-time opportunities, and prepared to play our part around natural disasters and other urgent challenges. This is a time when we see that value brought to forefront as volunteer needs have changed rapidly in our community. Read about Nikki’s experience below and check out Boston Cares’s COVID-19 page (www.bostoncares.org/covid-19) to learn about ways you can give back as well.

These are unusual and scary times. They are particularly challenging for those of us who get joy and purpose from serving others. These days our “service” in many ways requires us to stay home and lose the connection we get from volunteering.

Boston Cares is responding to both individual’s need to serve and the needs of government and organizations around the area for whom service cannot stop, even if it must change.

Last weekend, I supported the Mayor’s office by distributing fliers to houses around my neighborhood. They were to ensure that all citizens — regardless of native language, access to the internet, news, television, etc. knew where and how to find resources, information and food during these unusual times.

It was a wonderful and rewarding experience. For one thing, it was nice to be outside on a beautiful day after so many days in the house. We practiced good physical distancing and I walked alone with gloves to deliver my documents up and down the streets of the South End. It reminded me of my childhood days delivering the newspaper in my hometown. 

While it wasn’t the typical volunteering experience, I felt like I was making a difference — and that’s why we do this right? 

Boston Cares is making an effort to find more opportunities like this during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure we can continue our mission to connect individuals who want to serve with organizations and individuals who need our help.

– Nikki Levy, Boston Cares Board Member