Ways to volunteer using your car

The coronavirus pandemic is causing America to suffer. Americans across the country have suffered from record levels of sickness and unemployment. Schools and businesses have been closed and the future is uncertain as a result. Although federal measures such as the distribution of stimulus checks and the eviction moratorium provide some relief, federal assistance can be unpredictable.

The five-part study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the impact of the coronavirus is sobering. This study helps to identify the true Americans affected by this pandemic.

  • Major cities: More than half of households in the four largest U.S. metropolitan areas — New York City (LA), Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston — have severe financial problems. Many are unable to or unable to pay their medical bills and have exhausted their savings.
  • Households with medical requirements: Around 20% of U.S. households are unable to access serious medical care. 57% of those households report negative health effects from this lack of access. More than a third of U.S. households have significant financial problems, including inability to afford food or utilities.
  • Children and families: 36% of American families have difficulty paying for their children’s education. A staggering 18% of working households have significant childcare problems.
  • Rural households: Nearly half of rural households have had their income or employment disrupted by the coronavirus. Two-thirds (66%) report serious financial difficulties. Rural communities are particularly affected by “long-standing social inequalities and systemic health problems.”

These days, it doesn’t cost much to help someone in need. There are many opportunities to help if you have a car and are able to help.

Volunteering has many benefits

Coronavirus has caused unexpected and drastic changes in everyone’s lives, but we have also witnessed the resilience and strength of the human spirit. America has always been about helping others, particularly in times of crisis. Coronavirus is no exception.

Volunteer work is not only beneficial for the people who do it, but also for themselves.

Benefits for professionals

Many companies see community service as an important initiative. Employers often seek out candidates who have experience volunteering when interviewing for new positions. Employers often look for candidates with volunteer experience when interviewing for a new position. It shows employers that you are a team player who is willing to help others when necessary.

Benefits for education

Volunteering and community service can be a great way to get into college or other educational programs, such as an accelerated high-school program or undergraduate and graduate colleges. Admissions offices are more likely to consider applicants who have contributed to their community.

Social benefits

Volunteering can be fun and a great way to meet people with similar interests. You’ll get to know your neighbors and you may be able to travel further afield.

Mental health benefits

Volunteering is a great way to help yourself and others. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, volunteers spend 38% less time in hospital each year. Americans of all ages have been shown that volunteering reduces stress and combats depression. This leads to lower stress levels.

Ways to volunteer using your car

While concerns about contact are understandable in the COVID-19 pandemics, those with vehicles or access to them have many options to help people in need.

Contact close

  • Deliver meals: Not everyone has the time or ability to go to a restaurant or shop. Certain individuals are more at risk of illness than others. High-risk people need to take precautions to avoid being exposed to others. It is possible to be too cautious shopping in grocery stores. Not everyone has the means or ability to have groceries delivered. Volunteering your time is a great way of giving back to the community by delivering meals to seniors and those with disabilities. Your visit can provide meaningful social interaction for someone who hasn’t seen you in a while. Meals on Wheels is perhaps the most well-known organization for food delivery. However, there may be other organizations in your area that provide meals to those in need.
  • Transport and rescue of animals: Pet owners often have to make the hard decision to let their pets go in order to save money. As unemployment rises and savings shrink, so do pet owners. Although most areas have many shelters available, they also struggle to find volunteers and funds. Stop by your local shelter if you are a lover of animals. You can pick up animals or give them rides to vet appointments, foster homes, or spend time at the shelter.
  • Seniors need rides: Public transport can be dangerous during the pandemic. Many seniors cannot afford Lyft or Uber because of their limited incomes. Partnering up with a local organization can provide safe rides for those at higher risk. The National Volunteer Transportation Center offers seniors assistance from door-to-door to door, through-door to door, or at-destination. This allows both the volunteers and seniors to decide the appropriate level of contact.
  • Transport for medical care: Medical appointments can be very important during this time. However, it may not always be possible to get there. Volunteers with vans, trucks and cars are needed to transport people of all ages to their appointments. Wings of Hope, a popular U.S. organization that provides medical transport, offers flights by volunteer pilots.
  • Visit seniors who are isolated: Seniors suffering from coronavirus can be lonely if their social interaction is limited. You can volunteer to visit seniors at their home, nursing facility, or retirement home if you are negative for coronavirus.
  • Volunteer driver safety instructor: This is a unique way to volunteer as a driver safety officer. You will be trained to become a driver safety teacher in your local community through organizations such as and AARP.

Little-to-no contact

  • You can deliver blood products: Your car can be used to transport life-saving blood products from hospitals, medical offices, and other healthcare facilities. Volunteer transportation specialist for Red Cross? You’ll be able to drive a Red Cross-owned vehicle while volunteering.
  • Donate your car to charity: If you don’t need it or want to use it, you can donate it to charity. These organizations may also need your help as a driver or customer service specialist.
  • Register to become an organ donor: The U.S. government reported that more than 107,000.00 people were on the national waiting list. In times like the coronavirus pandemic, donating an organ can save someone’s life.

Volunteering online: There are many ways to do it

The digital age makes it easy to volunteer for good causes from your home.

  • United Nations Volunteers The United Nations Volunteers (UNV), gives you the opportunity to work with the United Nations, and be a member of more than 50 countries. Volunteers can be found in the United States and around the world working on peacekeeping, humanitarian, and political efforts.
  • Translators Without Borders: Use your language skills to translate for different global needs with Translators Without Borders. You can translate many documents, from medical texts to emergency response.
  • Crisis text line: The rise in stress and isolation caused by coronavirus is a grave concern for mental health. Volunteers are needed to provide support and counseling for those in crisis. Although phone support is very common, text support is becoming more popular.There are many crisis support lines available, but there are two main ones that have responded to calls. The Trevor Project provides life-saving support to LGBTQ youth and is one of the most trusted resources. A national hotline dedicated to victims and survivors of sexual violence is the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
  • Catchafire Catchafire is a unique approach to volunteering. It matches volunteers based upon their skills. Nonprofits are a great way for professionals to share their knowledge and help the underserved areas of the U.S.
  • TED Translate: TED translators have the opportunity to subtitle TED talks in 115 languages. This not only makes TED talks more visible to a wider audience but also ensures that people who are hard of hearing or deaf can benefit from the vital information these videos provide.

Driving requirements

Organizations have a responsibility for the safety of volunteers when they accept them. Before you can use your car for volunteering, there are likely to be some requirements.

  • Valid driver’s licence: You will need a valid driver’s license if you drive for volunteer work. You will need to be able to drive a car and familiar with the rules of the road. Driving without a license can result in points and penalties on your driving record. This could also increase the cost for your car insurance.
  • Good driving record: Volunteer organisations will also examine your driving record to determine how safe you drive. You will not be eligible to drive for an organisation if you have had a lot of DUIs, violations, or accidents. You might be better suited to work at home.
  • Registration and insurance: You cannot operate a motor car without registering it. If you are driving for an organization, you will need to show proof of registration. To cover damages and losses caused by a car accident, most states require drivers to have minimum auto insurance. Before you can start, you may need to provide proof to a volunteer group.