If you're looking for ways to connect with and help others during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are several activities and volunteer opportunities that may be done safely. We thank The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah for many of these ideas which were generated by their Mitzvah Day Project.
If you have a volunteer opportunity you'd like JCF to consider adding to the list, please contact Brooke Hardy.
- - Collect non-perishables for a food bank. Some local food banks include Jewish Family Services, Harvesters, and Seton Center.
- - Volunteer time at a food pantry.
- - If you order restaurant or grocery delivery, be kind and generous to your delivery drivers.
- - Buy gift certificates now for your favorite local restaurants and use them later.
- - Deliver food to friends or neighbors.
- Volunteer at the Mitzvah Garden.
- - Give blood (Resources: American Red Cross; Community Blood Center).
- - Make or purchase masks and donate them to nursing homes, community centers and hospitals. (The J is currently accepting masks for the Heritage Center. Be sure to call others first to ensure they accept such donations.)
- - Pre-make bags to store in your car for the homeless. Put together useful items in bags to give to a homeless person you might see with a sign on a street corner. Consider including face masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes, food and toiletries.
Say Thank you!
- - Write thank you letters to COVID-19 first responders through Operation Gratitude.
- - Make signs to say thank you and place them outside hospitals.
- - Discover ways to support U.S. soldiers deployed overseas. Visit SupportOurTroops for ideas.
- - Contact a service organization about recording 30-second videos to thank their staff for all they do.
Simple Ways to Help & Connect
- - Help visually disabled people “see.” Visit BeMyEyes.com to learn how it works.
- - Deliver used clothing and shoes to the trailer in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Campus.
- - Record audio books for public access libraries through LibriVox.
- - Make artwork to share with the world and donate it to Color A Smile.
- - Help the elderly who struggle with loneliness and isolation with letters through Love for the Elderly.
- - Make a social phone call to someone who might be feeling lonely or isolated, coordinated by the Jewish Federation.
- - Virtually mentor a KU Hillel participant and share business advice, career tips and networking opportunities.
- - Shop locally wherever you can.
- - For local cafes, book shops and other small businesses with online shops, give them your business online.
- - Contact a local animal shelter to ask if they need help fostering an animal until all shelters are fully staffed.
- - Help a neighbor with yard work or grocery shopping.
- - Drop off flowers on your neighbor’s doorstop to brighten their day.
- - Send daily e-cards to a friend who is in the hospital who can not have visitors.
- - Teach friends and family who are unfamiliar with the technology how to use Zoom.
- - Assist people working in the local service industry, a group that is struggling with unemployment, through an initiative like Adopt a Server.
- - Purchase face masks for yourself or others; Eclectics Gallery is a local artists co-op making and selling them.
- - Help out young parents working at home by offering to read to their kids on FaceTime or do a socially distanced art project.
- - National PJ Library has activities for connecting grandparents and grandchildren who are far away from each other.
- - Caribu is a neat way for grandparents to connect with their grandkids to read books and play games.
- - Craft packages to be delivered to families who have parents working from home and young children who need stimulation.
- - Entertain children and raise money for a charity by having kids walk for charity. Pledges can be made for the distance the children walk (the use of pedometers helps).
- - Use House Party, an application similar to Zoom that allows you to have dance parties with family and/or friends.
- - Learn how to play virtual Mahjong or bridge with friends.
- - Host a fun virtual game night.
- - Puzzles can be made from a personal photograph by companies like Shutterfly. They make a great gift for a puzzle enthusiast.