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National Volunteer Week: Local nonprofits seek more volunteers amid pandemic

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 4:54 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Local nonprofits are promoting National Volunteer Week and seeking more volunteers more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) is a week highlighting volunteers for their service and contributions to nonprofits, along with encouraging more people to volunteer. This year, organizations say the week is more important than in previous years.

Good News Project Development Manager Susie Arnold says her organization relies heavily on volunteers.

“We are an organization with just four staff members,” Arnold explained. “We literally could not run our programs or serve our communities without their help.”

She says throughout the pandemic, the organization’s volunteer numbers are not the same as pre-pandemic.

“In an average year, we have hundreds of volunteers that put in thousands of hours to make our programs run, allowing us to continue to serve the community,” Arnold said.

The organization requires volunteers to wear face masks and follow CDC guidelines. She says with this protocol, more and more volunteers are returning at a slow rate.

The Neighbors’ Place has experienced a similar dilemma during the pandemic.

Volunteer Coordinator Bettina Steadman says the organization has scaled back on programming, but its need for volunteers is still the same.

“We really scaled down our programming and focused in on the food pantry piece when the pandemic,” Steadman said. “We need about 20-30 people to make that happen every day. We need people to stock shelves, people to sort produce, people to push carts, people to greet guests. So, it still takes a lot of people to keep us up and running and that’s been a bit of a challenge.”

Those looking to volunteer with the Neighbors’ Place and Good News Project are encouraged to visit the organizations’ websites.

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