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United Way of Greater Portland is working closely with other community organizations to share needs and resources as we learn more. We have included a few volunteer opportunities below from the COVID-19 special edition of our Volunteer Engagement Newsletter.

Help our community in the midst of COVID-19

Virtual Card Making
Help brighten someone’s day and write a card! You can share a quote, for example, or send words of encouragement to them know that they are loved. Cards will be distributed through to United Way’s partners to people experiencing isolation, children that need a pick-me-up, and families that need of some encouragement. To create a card now visit unitedwaygp.org/notes.

Mask Making
Governor Mills is requiring facemasks for all in public places. “Individuals must wear cloth face covering in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” This order has created an increased need for masks in our community. At United Way of Greater Portland, we’d like to help ensure staff and clients at our partner organizations are able to return to work. We’re inviting community members to help make and donate homemade masks. While these masks may not be as effective as N-95s, when used correctly, they are useful in blocking out virus particles. Email volunteer@unitedwaygp.org to receive instructions for sewing and donating.

Inspire a student by sharing insight on where you work, what you do, a hobby you enjoy, a craft you’re making or a STEM activity you enjoy. Videos can be short (3-5 minutes) and can be done with your phone. We’ll provide you with tips to video and possible topics if you’re stuck for an idea. FMI: volunteer@unitedwaygp.org

Red Cross – Support those Giving the Gift of Life
During this time of COVID-19 blood collection is in a dire situation. “Through March 18, more than 4,500 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in about 150,000 fewer blood donations.” Red Cross needs volunteers to serve as Blood Donor Ambassadors with the Red Cross BioMed Team. This opportunity can take place anywhere in the state. Permanent donation centers are located in Portland, Lewiston & Bangor. The Red Cross has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of donors and staff on top of normal thorough safety protocols. As a Blood Donor Ambassador, you will play a safe and critical role in assuring donors that they have made a very good decision to donate. Volunteers may be taking temperatures at the door, checking donors into their appointment and/or keeping a watchful eye on them at the recovery table. Commitment: 6 hours (one shift) per month or more (at local blood drives or statewide). FMI visit http://volunteer.unitedwaygp.org/need/detail/?need_id=385260.

Meals on Wheels Delivery Drivers
Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) is actively looking for current volunteers who can assist with meal delivery as we navigate through this on-going health crisis. Deliveries take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Online training will be provided to new volunteers. Thank you for thoughtfully considering this important interim volunteer assignment as the Southern Maine Agency on Aging continues to provide necessary services to our clients. Please contact volunteer@smaaa.org for more information.

Preble Street Support
Preble Street is seeking food donations. Bring donations to the Resource Center Soup Kitchen, 252 Oxford Street, Volunteer Entrance (ring the bell) — 7 days a week, 7am-6pm. Looking to volunteer for meal service? Sign up online by visiting https://www.preblestreet.org/you-can-help/volunteer/ or contact Volunteer Manager Ali Brauner at 207-775-0026 x1162 or by email at abrauner@preblestreet.org.

Wayside’s warehouse is currently open if you are looking to donate food or help pack food boxes weekday mornings. Email Don Morrison – dmorrison@waysidemaine.org  or call Don (207) 712-4929.

Local Food Pantries
Many local food pantries are also in need of help.  You can contact your local food pantry and ask if they need help.

Virtual Food Drive
Now you can easily organize a fundraiser to support Good Shepherd Food Bank right from your computer! Share your Virtual Food Drive with family and friends to help collect food needed to feed families struggling with hunger throughout our state. Need food ideas: Peanut butter, Rice, Any Kids’ Healthy Snacks, Canned tuna, Tomato sauce, Soup, Canned fruit (low or no sugar), Canned veggies or beans, Granola or cereal bars, Cereal, Macaroni & Cheese. FMI visit https://www.gsfb.org/get-involved/food-drives.

Click here to see a complete list of UWGP’s COVID-19 Resources.