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Volunteer, give blood, sign up to check on seniors; this is The Capital’s guide to doing your bit
By this point, we all have a pretty good idea of the actions we should be taking to tame this pandemic: Staying home, limiting trips to the grocery store, keeping at least two meters’ distant from people not in your household, wearing a face covering while in public. But as COVID-19 continues its sweep over our island, many are looking for ways to do more. Below, The Capital compiled all the ways you can donate, volunteer or otherwise lend your support to alleviate the suffering and sacrifice of this pandemic.
Volunteer Victoria is compiling a database of volunteers ready to be deployed to community and health organizations, depending on their needs. Duties could include driving people to essential appointments, caring for or walking animals, gardening, housekeeping or grocery shopping. Fill out this form to join the group of volunteers. Notably, Volunteer Victoria is currently looking for retired or previously licensed nurses, doctors and lab-workers to assist Island Health.
Many seniors who are self isolating are alone right now, with limited social options and restricted movement. The provincial government has set up a new program, run through BC211, that allows you to help a senior with things they need, whether that’s grocery shopping, social check-ups, welfare visits, meal prep or prescription pick-ups. If you want to volunteer — or if you’re a senior who wants help — you can phone 2-1-1 or fill out this form.
The Cridge Centre for the Family has asked people, especially kids, to draw or write notes of encouragement to seniors. Scan or photograph them and email them over to the centre, which will print them out and put them on the meal trays for those who need a happy message right now.
Food banks have been hit in a number of ways during the pandemic: they’ve lost volunteers as seniors are staying home, demand is escalating higher as people are struggling with finances, and they’re being called upon to reconfigure their services to deliver food to people in the safest way. In Victoria, The Mustard Seed is using a limited number of screened volunteers at its food programs, Rainbow Kitchen has an urgent need for dishwashers and people to help with deep cleaning, Anawim House needs casual and full time volunteers for activities ranging from yard cleaning to food stock sorting, the national and local Salvation Army organizations are still running their programs and looking for volunteers. Food Not Bombs Victoria — which operates a meal service at 4pm every Sunday in Centennial Square — said it’s been inundated with demand; volunteer cooks are needed beginning around 11am Sundays and the contact details for getting involved are on their Facebook page.
Canadian Blood Services has enacted enhanced measures across its donor locations — including safe two metre distancing of stations and wipedowns after each use. There are appointments available in locations throughout Greater Victoria, and they’re available for online booking here.
GoVolunteer.ca has a search engine of non-profits and charities in British Columbia looking for remote volunteers for normal business and for COVID-19 efforts. Roles are as varied as press and media work for Art Vancouver to a secretary-treasurer position at Victoria-based BC Hospice Palliative Care Association.