Miami Valley nonprofits prepare to bring back volunteers now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Many Miami Valley nonprofits ready for volunteers to rejoin their ranks this summer after having to turn volunteers away for over a year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Foodbank in Dayton relied on help from the National Guard throughout the pandemic after they had to send their volunteers home. Now that the National Guard is phasing out, they’re ready to bring volunteers back.

“Truly we are a volunteer-driven organization, we can’t do our mission without having volunteers here,” The Foodbank Volunteer Manager Dan Wood said.

The Foodbank already brought back volunteers for their urban garden and food distributions, now they plan to start volunteers in their warehouse July 1.

The Foodbank distributed 17.8 million pounds of food in 2020, this year they predict to distribute 19 to 20 million pounds.

Wood said with the food need increasing in the Miami Valley, the need for volunteers is also growing.

“I think a lot of people just feel more comfortable now getting back to volunteering, so it’s starting to ramp up, we’re starting to fill some of those spots, which is fantastic, because, obviously, we have an ever-increasing need,” Wood said.

Wood said he is reaching out to past volunteers and always accepting new volunteers.

To volunteer with The Foodbank, you can sign up through their website or by calling Dan Wood at 937-461-0265 x 27.

United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton has kept some of their volunteers on through the pandemic by doing virtual activities or outdoor work.

URS Executive Director Dennis Grant said because of COVID-19, the volunteers have missed out on interacting with the adults and kids they serve.

“One of the things we find most important in really helping them appreciate the mission and critical nature of the services we provide is to actually have them get engaged with those individuals,” Grant said.

Grant said it’ll likely be sometime in the fall when that volunteering returns, but this summer they’re in need of help for events like their Rubber Duck Regatta.

“It won’t be very long, thanks to so many people getting vaccinated that we’re going to be able to get volunteers back into the building,” Grant said.

Volunteers for URS can sign up online or by calling Jackie Lee at 937-853-5433.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton is also getting ready to indroduce volunteers back into the shelter.

President and CEO Brian Weltge said that the pandemic has been hard on the animals who need homes because they haven’t had the interaction that volunteers give them.

“There are people in community who want to help, not just our organization, but many others,” Weltge said. “It’s exciting to reengage them, and if you have the vaccine, we’re ready to go.”

Weltge said they’re asking that volunteers are vaccinated before helping out.

The Humane Society is reaching out to past volunteers to schedule them for shifts. They are also accepting new volunteers, who can sign up for an orientation program through their website or by calling the volunteer coordinator at at (937) 262-5924.

Due to construction at the Humane Society, parking is limited, so volunteering is on a scheduled basis only until it is complete.

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