April is Global Volunteer Month! Over the past year, we have seen a renewed energy for civic engagement as people around the world use their voice and take action in response to a global pandemic, racial justice, and social equity. A month-long celebration of volunteer service, Global Volunteer Month shines a light on the individuals that are making a difference in their communities. Meet three individuals who are making a difference in our Boston community, Heidi, Paul, and Meghana.
Heidi and Paul Chandonnet
Heidi and Paul’s happiest memory is when they returned to volunteering at the American Red Cross Food Pantry after the COVID-19 lockdown.
In early June they were enthusiastically greeted by Sharon Curry at the Food Pantry. They were oriented to the new COVID-19 protocol each volunteer follows and learned the new outdoor food distribution process. “The Red Cross Food Pantry’s employees and volunteers work collaboratively to ensure there are distributions at least twice a week and our clients buoy us with their enthusiasm, blessings, and gratitude.”
Heidi and Paul joined Boston Cares in January 2018 and have been happily volunteering ever since. They have volunteered at a variety of different projects including, the Prison Book program, More Than Words, the East End House, Catie’s Closet, the Shawmut Corridor Gardens, the American Red Cross Food Pantry, and others. “At each volunteer opportunity, we found wonderful and kind people who are dedicated to the organization’s mission and to making a difference in our communities.”
“Boston Cares is an organization that has an option and opportunity for everyone to feel good about giving back and how easy it is. There are so many different options and types of things available that suit everybody’s personalities and schedules it just kind of makes it how could you not do it. It is certainly a mechanism that makes it easy to give back.”
Meghana Prabhu Bantwal
In 2015, as a Freshman at Northeastern University, a quick Google search allowed Meghana to find Boston Cares. She was looking at more ways to get involved in the Boston community and get more acquainted with the city.
“Boston Cares was the reason I was able to go out and explore. I was shy and started doing projects because I wanted to explore Boston. I took the T for the first time because of Boston Cares and another volunteer was the one who showed me how it works.”
Meghana’s favorite project that she has been going back to for the last five years is the Friday Night Supper Program. “ I have definitely found a family at FNSP.” Unfortunately, due to COVID, she has not been able to go recently but that led her to find the Age Strong Commission Project where she was a Volunteer Leader.
“There are individuals in Boston Cares who come from such a variety of backgrounds, and they all come together to bring the community together and that’s what makes Boston Cares so special, you not only come with your own skills but you come apart of this group and that is where I found my home away from home. So if anyone is waiting to join and needs a push, this is their sign to join.”
By volunteering, you are addressing the most critical needs of the Greater Boston area, by spreading kindness, supporting hunger relief, and more. We have a specific need for daytime volunteers. Interested in getting involved? Click here for more info.