Many of our partner organizations are closed or suspending services during the pandemic, but some organizations have a greater need for volunteers now more than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in wide-ranging disruptions to individuals, families, and organizations in our community. On March 23, Governor Jay Inslee announced a statewide stay-at-home order intended to enforce stricter social distancing measures, requiring people to stay at home at all times unless engaging in essential activities, and forcing many businesses that have thus far remained open to close.
The following RSVP Volunteer Stations have either closed or suspended some or all of their services as of this blog post:
Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW) - A Matter of Balance classes postponed as of 3/13
American Cancer Society Discovery Shop - closed as of 3/16
Audubon Park United Methodist Church - weekly Tuesday breakfast discontinued; food bank and Bare Essentials pantry remain open
Catholic Charities Eastern Washington - on-site volunteering suspended, but people can help in other ways (see below)
Corbin Senior Activity Center - closed as of 3/16
HUB Sports Center - closed as of 3/15
Greater Spokane County (GSC) Meals on Wheels - Silver Cafe sites closed as of 3/20; home meal delivery continues (see below)
Meals on Wheels Spokane - Mid-City Senior Center closed as of 3/16; home meal delivery continues (see below)
New Hope Resource Center - open, but operating on a limited basis
Southside Community Center - closed as of 3/16
Spark Central - closed as of 3/17
Spokane County Library District - All branches closed to the public, Reading Buddy program suspended
West Central Community Center - K-12 program and Supportive Services program suspended
Women & Children's Free Restaurant - dining room services suspended (take-out meals only)
IF YOU ARE AN RSVP VOLUNTEER WHO HAS STOPPED VOLUNTEERING AS A RESULT OF COVID-19, THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER, OR A VOLUNTEER STATION CLOSURE, PLEASE EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TO LET US KNOW!
Please be aware that the stay-at-home order does not apply to "essential activities." A number of our volunteer stations have been deemed essential - and these organizations need volunteers now more than ever. That said, RSVP of Spokane County strongly urges ALL individuals age 60+ NOT to volunteer and JUST STAY HOME. A desire to be of service is admirable - but right now, if you're an older adult, the best thing you can do is spread the word about these volunteer needs and let younger, lower-risk people step up to meet them.
The following RSVP Volunteer Stations provide "essential" services and still need volunteers to help provide them:
American Red Cross
Blood drives are controlled events with trained staff and appropriate safety measures to protect donors and recipients. Like a hospital, grocery store, or pharmacy, a blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community.
Every day, there are cancer patients in the Spokane area who need a ride to doctor appointments, radiation treatment or chemotherapy sessions. This certainly doesn't change during a pandemic! Through a network of volunteers, The Cancer Can't Transportation Program provides anyone in need of rides to and from appointments.
While on-site volunteering has been suspended, Catholic Charities is still committed to their mission to serve the poor, homeless, and seniors. The best thing you can do to help is to be a "Shopping Angel" or donate emergency supplies. Click here for more details.
GSC Meals on Wheels
Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels is designated an essential service and will continue to deliver daily to their program participants. Their routes cover the entire 1,800 miles of Spokane County and the closures of Silver Cafes have meant more people opting for home delivered meals.
Meals on Wheels Spokane
Meals on Wheels is an essential service and will remain open to serve our seniors. Meals for homebound seniors are still going out as scheduled but MOW Spokane is asking for no contact deliveries to their clients and is seeking extra cooler packs so that all meals can be placed in coolers outside of the door instead of handed directly over. Additionally, they are asking the community for donated items to fill Gift Boxes that will be delivered to seniors to help ward off the harmful effects of social isolation.
Because grocery stores are exempt from the stay-at-home order, Northwest Harvest, food banks, and other organizations that provide essential services are allowed to continue operations. This exemption also extends to staff and volunteers. Volunteer activities carry on as scheduled at all Northwest Harvest locations and there are no plans to cancel any shifts at this time.
Second Harvest needs volunteers to pack food for our neighbors who do not have reserves in the event there is a need. To protect the health of volunteers and staff, they will have short session volunteer opportunities to help repack food to distribute to people in need. Only volunteers who have registered in advance may show up for a shift.
Vitalant—the second largest blood provider in the country—is working with other blood banks to avoid a critical failure of the blood supply. Blood donors are needed now to offset canceled drives and sharp dips in donation due to COVID-19 prevention efforts. Vitalant is urging groups to continue organizing blood drives and individuals to continue donating blood, unless local public health officials specifically direct otherwise. If you are healthy and well, please donate blood now to replenish our blood supply.