Staying Safe as a volunteer
Whether you volunteer formally with an organization or informally with members of your community, always prioritize your safety and well-being. Below are suggestions for how you can help yourself and others stay safe as you give back.
*If you have been in contact with someone with any fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are not feeling well or think you may have COVID-19, do not volunteer for any in-person efforts. Stay home, call your doctor, and separate yourself from others.
1. Protect yourself. | Take the recommended public health precautions at all times, which include washing your hands often and for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and maintaining six feet of distance between yourself and other people.
2. Protect others. | To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
3. Individuals at higher risk should avoid physical contact with others. | Individuals at higher risk who want to volunteer should consider opportunities that do not involve close physical contact with others, such as remote duties and administrative or support functions.
3. Prepare for your shift. | Carry personal items that may help during volunteer shifts, such as water, a mask, antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60 percent or greater, prescriptions/inhalers, snacks, and a phone charger. Also dress weather appropriate.
4. Call ahead when helping others. | When offering to help those in your neighborhood or community, never show up unannounced. Call first and arrange to drop items at their door. Avoid entering others’ homes unless absolutely necessary. Practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of six feet between you and any other person.
5. Volunteer virtually. | Consider virtual ways to give back, such as online giving funds, charity drives, or virtual volunteer opportunities. There are many nonprofits and businesses in need of virtual assistants to help with organizational tasks, order placements and customer relations.
6. Again, if you have had any contact with another person who has not been feeling well, or if you, personally, feel in any way unwell, do not volunteer for activities that require you to leave your home. This includes any symptoms of cough, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches or pains, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.