Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Match Me Up Please

I'm back from a week-long vacation and find myself scrambling to get a volunteer gig. While I was gone, I had a message on my answering machine asking for help in September, and a different request was e-mailed. I'm excited that people are sending me ideas. But this week, I'm still figuring out what to do.

There are some places I could revisit, like Gleaners, one of my favorites. I could also check out the community farm if I really want some exercise. I've also put in a call to help out Lighthouse of Oakland County at the Renaissance Festival for their food drive this weekend. For now, it's up in the air, but I have to make a decision soon to keep up the pace.

This is what happens when I leave for a week. In preparation for a long absence, I am consumed with getting my own work done ahead of time. For would-be volunteers who want to get out and help the community, there are a variety of helpful websites out there ready to assist.

Create the Good (by AARP) is one of the many helpful sites that match volunteers to organizations seeking help. Just type in a Zipcode and the site pulls up a variety of opportunities. It also lists helpful tips for volunteers.

Volunteer Match offers the same types of services and shares volunteer stories. Both sites encourage volunteering, and the positive stories keep me refueled. Even O.A.T.S. — my last volunteer effort — is listed on Create the Good seeking volunteers.

Many county websites also offer a list of organizations seeking help. I've also had people e-mail or tell me about ideas — though some require a long-term commitment that I cannot give at this time, but would like check out in the future.

Remember that help is needed during all seasons, and as corny as it may seem, your efforts matter, whether it's a one-time thing or a long-term commitment.

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