A Different Kind of Love: Volunteering in time of COVID-19

Pouring our hearts this time of public health crisis could offer a collective bead of light and hope towards overcoming one of the world’s deadliest pandemics.

The Philippines, along with other countries around the globe are currently facing today’s  invisible and life-threatening disease that swarmed the headlines and inflicted a colossal amount of fear among the public – the Coronavirus 2019 or simply called COVID-19. This originally came from China and is greatly associated with other public health diseases recorded in history such as the A H1N1, Bird Flu, African Swine Flu, among others. The disease can be transmitted through droplets that are usually released during a time of sneeze or cough, and is highly contagious. COVID-19 symptoms generally resemble that of a typical flu – dry cough, fever, headaches, colds and other similar symptoms which can be explicitly seen, or worse, asymptomatic in nature at some cases which makes it more difficult to track and monitor.  

Now coined as a “global pandemic” by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 became the talk of the whole world and continues to affect millions of lives all around the globe. Schools were suspended, work has been put to a hold, businesses were temporarily forced to stop operations, economies are declining, and the government now at the seat of addressing this public health issue became the highlights of everyday news. The national government and its local units are in the great pressure of combating the pervasive effects of this disease and containing its further spread among people.

Due to these circumstances, the general public has been subjected under what we call an “Enhanced Community Quarantine” where individuals, families and communities are ordered to stay inside their households for one month as instructed by the President and must abide by the rules and regulations contained within the public order. There will be no school, reporting to work and business operations at this period but only few institutions such as supermarkets, banks and others catering to basic necessities will be allowed to operate under strict compliance. This led to a major dilemma in terms of people coping with sudden events and surviving their everyday living.

While there are families safely contained inside their homes, there are people who became more vulnerable during this time of need. Those underprivileged individuals are being double- deprived of basic life resources due to a much limited number of available necessities. There are informal sectors such as vendors, public utiliity vehicle drivers and those braving the streets of metropolis who have to consider alternative ways of livelihood to put meals on their table. There are the noble healthcare workers and frontliners who are continuously battling with COVID-19, and are set on everyday risk due to their exposure to the disease. These are the everyday scenes which may touch, disturb, awaken and inspire our hearts to do something and offer a glimpse of hope amidst the chaos.

But where does “volunteering” situate in these trying times? How can we lend a helping hand during great fear and panic among people? How are we going to devote a parcel of our heart and alleviate the suffering of our fellow countrymen?

The answers are within us. It demands to be unleashed and utilized for a greater good. And volunteering is the perfect opportunity to let goodness win back and restore faith in humanity.

Now more than ever, volunteering has always been a key player in spreading not just fundamental help to people but also cultivating a culture of kindness, charity and compassion. For tough periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering our time, skills and donations would be crucial for sustaining a life. They are not just small things as often described by people. Rather, they are the “big and most significant spaces” which occupy the biggest part of their hearts. Acts of volunteering itself and the spirit of volunteerism are the catalysts of healing, change and redemption for our nation. That’s why we really need to take this chance to offer whatever form of help we can give and reach out to those who need it the most. Becoming a volunteer is sharing the flame of light with others and spreading it to create a ripple of shining hope in time of darkness.

How can we make volunteering work possible in this time of fear?

 While there are apprehensions and uncertainties for immersing oneself in volunteer work this COVID-19 pandemic, there are various initiatives on how we can spread love and offer our sincerest intentions to help:

Volunteer your Time

Time perhaps becomes a lot shinier than gold when utilized for general welfare this period of constant anxiety. Did we know that time spent with other people could not be taken back, rather it is being recollected and cherished for good eternally. So volunteering our time is not just a one shot opportunity but a lifetime fulfillment on the giver’s part.

This COVID-19 season, there are a lot of organizations and individuals needing assistance on various facets such as repacking relief goods, coordinating with institutions for successful relief operations, taking time to visit those who are stranded, and bringing comfort for those who are emotionally affected by the COVID-19. These are just some of the activities we can invest our time volunteering with. Imagine the impact we can create by offering one of the most important aspects of our life – time.

Help non-government organizations complete its relief operations. Become an extra logistical hand performing duties and responsibilities for effective conduct of community/outreach activities. Assist with your local government unit, barangay or Sangguniang Kabataan organization upon delivering basic goods and services to your locality. In this way, we can assure that operations won’t just be on a quick process but also having close interactions with people affected such as families and communities. We can hear out their concerns and be touched by the stories they share. Offering our time is a valuable thing that can echo a lifetime effect on people’s lives.

Volunteer your Skills

Aside from time, there are organizations needing extra hands to perform specific duties and functions which require set of skills to complete. Examples would be writing an informative article for a specific media platform, contributing  a graphic content to a medical institution, becoming the effective channel or link of information by conceptualizing and communicating relevant content to the general public this time of COVID-19 and other skills-based activities would be a major contribution in lessening the workload of these organizations. Offering our skills and talents for greater good is a sign of a competent, compassionate and civic-minded citizen.

It is not just in the academe or workplace where we can pour out our capabilities. We can shed more of them through volunteering and who knows? We can discover a hidden gem all along. That’s why volunteering our skills is a crucial aspect in this time of need. We will not just lessen the work that some organizations do but we are actually leaving a footprint of our work, a legacy of kindness in the form of our skill –based contributions to families and communities at large. Our talents shine the brightest when served for and with a purpose.

Volunteer your Donations

Wealth shared for good is a money purposefully spent.

Also called “Treasure Volunteering”, offering our share will play a major factor in successfully running NGO’s operations and program implementations. Our excess money, no matter how small they are, can go a long way and treasure volunteering is something that interested individuals and volunteers can consider aside from time and skills-based volunteering opportunities.

COVID-19 has massively affected the general public at almost all aspects of life and there are institutions who greatly need financial support such as NGO’s for the vulnerable sectors like those who cater children, the elderly, the abused and abandoned, women, etc. A 20 Php bill could be a turning point for a successful relief operation/ program implementation. Never underestimate the power of what we can collectively harness as a community, like a single peso. The power of community is being shown in collective efforts and shared resources. That’s why at par with skills-based and time volunteering opportunities, try to include treasure volunteering in your volunteer bucket list.

Ivolunteer Philippines, a non-profit organization that offers local volunteering opportunities and inculcates the spirit of volunteerism among Filipinos towards nation-building, features a unique donation platform where interested individuals and aspiring volunteers can contribute in support of their causes.

Treasure Volunteer

Treasure Volunteer is a donation platform found at the Ivolunteer Philippines website where individuals can consider a powerful alternative in full support of their advocacy. This provides a much efficient, easier access to volunteer opportunities and seamless efforts to address users’ needs in terms of browsing volunteer opportunities and platforms where they can donate their money for organizations.

As stated above, Treasure Volunteer offers three types of volunteering activities namely: Skills-based Volunteering, Time Volunteering and Donations (Treasure Volunteering). For these volunteer activities, it is highly encouraged to browse through the available volunteer opportunities at Ivolunteer website and click on the advocacy or event you want to offer your help. Treasure Volunteer also comprises of different campaigns which emphasize social issues faced by Filipinos, and will give us a glimpse of the type of volunteer activity that we would venture on.

For Donations, there are available volunteer opportunities at the Ivolunteer website upon selecting “Treasure Volunteer” option. Sending your donations could be in three options: using Debit card, Credit card or Deposit slip. Upon processing, a confirmation letter will be sent to the email that the user has indicated and will also be notified once the funds have been released to its target beneficiaries. Make sure to keep oneself informed of the processing and maintenance fees involved in the transactions for the Ivolunteer to successfully run its operations.

Important Reminder: Be a media and information literate citizen!

With all of the information bombarded by the social media nowadays, processing consumed information online becomes a tough challenge as well. In order not to become a trap of fake news and misinformation, it is recommended that we browse through the source of a particular information piece or article and cross-check its credibility. Make sure that it came from a legitimate source and are produced by reliable institutions. Just like how we look for volunteer opportunities. Double check if the opportunity presented is not a scam and is a verified volunteer opportunity, initiated by a reputable organization. In this way, we can all benefit by ensuring we are informed of the necessary and relevant information.

As a song glides in, “There can be miracles, when you believe”. The same goes for us, Filipinos. We are now in the midst of fighting a global pandemic and there is no greater shield than love and compassion we share with people around us. When we take time to spread the flame of hope, we can light up the once bleak faces and regain humanity for our brothers and sisters in need. By volunteering, we are offering the deepest form of human connection and love. And now is the time we need it the most.

To know more about Ivolunteer Philippines and Treasure Volunteer, you can visit www.ivolunteer.com.ph and sign up for your planned volunteer opportunities. You can also support #TreasureVolunteer campaigns indicated there.

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