Drake desires to work reciprocally with local neighborhoods and community organizations. Annually, Drake partners with over 100 community agencies and schools on a variety of projects from lunch hour reading programs with kids at King elementary to building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Whatever your interest there is an opportunity for you to get involved! Check out below for some of the requests we've received recently or search the United Way Volunteer Database for 100s of opportunities. To search statewide, including political and faith-based opportunities, visit the Volunteer Iowa website (you can filter by location).
If you're looking to develop a more ongoing relationship with a community partner, read through this checklist first.
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Volunteering in times of Coronavirus
There are still ways to support our neighbors, even during social distancing. Some people have new needs emerging, while others have existing needs exacerbated by the situation. Below are a few ideas to consider:
- Contribute to Drake's Virtual Food Drive to benefit Des Moines Area Religious Council, which manages 14 local food pantries: https://www.dmarcunited.org/donate/virtual-drive/drake/. Because DMARC can buy in bulk, a donation of just one dollar yields greater purchasing power than an individual person at a grocery store.
- Donate to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences' virtual fundraiser for the Food Bank of Iowa. Donate today!
- Consider donating blood. The American Red Cross encourages healthy, eligible individuals to schedule an appointment at redcrossblood.org. Demand for blood is high and fewer people are donating. You can also schedule an appointment with LifeServe Blood Center at https://www.lifeservebloodcenter.org/.
- Drop off canned goods and toiletries to one of the Drake Neighborhood's Little Free Pantries, or a little library or little pantry in your own community.
- The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines has activated a Disaster Recovery Fund that will be used to support communities that are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 emergency. The Community Foundation’s board and United Way of Central Iowa have both dedicated $100,000 to this fund. Additional donations can be made at www.desmoinesfoundation.org/disasterfund.
- UnityPoint in DSM is asking for donations of PPE and medical supplies, including paper bags, hair covers, exam gloves, eye protection.
- Contact your local long-term care facility to see if you could share your talents virtually - could you record or livestream you playing music, reading a story, etc.?
- Write letters to the residents at Ramsey Village in the Drake Neighborhood or your local nursing home, where no visitors are allowed. Start your letter with "Dear Neighbor" and write about what college life is like in the middle of a pandemic. Google the address of your local nursing home.
- Do you have a 3D printer? Drake Innovation is printing 3D face mask pieces, and invites you to do the same! Check out the instructions.
- Take a plastic bag and latex gloves with you on a walk and pick up litter.
Policy and Governance:
- Contact your legislators about bills and policies that will impact people during this disaster, such as unemployment. Find your legislators at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.
- Attend a virtual city council meeting to learn about important issues in your city
Community Organizing and Activism:
- Unfortunately, the coronavirus has brought out countless instances of xenophobia. As a form of activism, you can call out xenophobic reactions on social media or in conversations.
- Check on your neighbors - send them a text or phone call to see if they need anything - you can always leave a roll of toilet paper or some canned goods on their doorstep if they are in need.
Washington Post article "How can you help during the Coronavirus outbreak?"
Volunteer Iowa has a list of volunteer opportunities across the state as a result of Covid-19. Check them out here.