Originally appeared in Dallas Morning News
Celebrated every April since 1991 when it debuted as part of President George H. W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign, National Volunteer Month is a way to both honor and encourage volunteerism throughout the community. It also acts as a reminder that we should donate time and resources to organizations and people in need throughout the year — not just during the month that it’s recognized. FWD>DFW’s partnership with social impact platform VOMO makes it easy to search hundreds of available volunteer opportunities in a variety categories, including education, health and wellness, and kid-friendly service projects.
“Volunteers and their overall engagement remain critical to our work, and to our ability to serve our local communities in a plethora of ways. With changes due to the global pandemic, we are continuously working on innovative approaches to continue to engage volunteers while still working to keep our community safe,” says Ashley Douglas, senior director at Southern Dallas Thrives, a United Way of Metropolitan Dallas initiative created in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America.
Recently,Southern Dallas Thrives entered into a partnership with Goodr, an Atlanta-based company that works to combat hunger and reduce food waste. Through the partnership, a pop-up grocery store is debuting Saturday, April 17, at Fair Park, followed by a grocery delivery initiative for high-risk seniors that’s part of a four-week pilot program funded by the City of Dallas, with staff and volunteers delivering essentials each Saturday.
That same spirit of volunteerism can also be seen in the way that people came together at Our Daily Bread in Denton after the severe winter storm this past February. Staff, volunteers and shelter guests themselves joined forces to get people off the streets and into the shelter, which they were able to keep open 24 hours a day for 10 straight days. Volunteers were especially vital in this scenario, as many staff members couldn’t navigate the icy roads to get to the shelter.
“Our volunteers’ efforts showed what the power of putting others’ needs above our own can do. Regardless of someone’s skills or background, as evidenced by our own guests volunteering, what matters is the heart and intention behind a volunteer’s actions,” says Lisa Merino, volunteer coordinator at Our Daily Bread.
The rewarding feeling of helping and serving the needs of others makes National Volunteer Month a perfect time to explore the many opportunities to be a part of something bigger. In addition to researching volunteer needs through FWD>DFW’s volunteer hub, you can browse this list of eight nonprofit organizations that need your help, both in-person or virtually.SPONSORED CONTENT
1800 N. Lamar St., Dallas
The program of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas needs volunteers for its grocery delivery program, but due to limited scope because of COVID-19, people are encouraged to check out all the opportunities within the larger organization at unitedwaydallas.org.
300 W. Oak St., Denton
Now aligned with Monsignor King Outreach Center, Our Daily Bread helps the community with hunger and homelessness through its shelter and services. Volunteers are essential to daily operations and current needs range from dishwashing and food prep to receiving and stocking donations.
4311 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas
The Dallas-based international nonprofit environmental organization’s mission to educate and inspire people to action towards a more sustainable future can be achieved through a variety of activities, including event-specific volunteer opportunities like cleanup initiatives. You can also e-mail email@example.com for additional ways to get involved.
3906 N. Westmoreland Road, Dallas
Brother Bill’s Helping Hand provides food, healthcare and education programming to those in need in West Dallas and Oak Cliff by bringing positive change to people’s lives through tools, resources and hope. The organization still needs several volunteers for its drive-thru Neighbor Day Community Event on Saturday, April 17, or you can browse through numerous other opportunities via VOMO.INSPIRED
9125 Dogwood St., Suite 100, Frisco
For more than 25 years, Frisco Family Serves has addressed the essential needs of families in ways that allow them to maintain dignity during difficult times. Volunteer opportunities include working at the resale shop, helping out in the food pantry and assisting at fundraisers, such as the organization’s upcoming Mayor’s Golf Classic on June 21.
125 Sunset Ave., Dallas
Operating as the community ministry hub of Cliff Temple Baptist Church, this weekday drop-in center provides emergency food and clothing, as well as counseling services and educational opportunities for families residing in North Oak Cliff. Volunteer needs include greeting or ushering at worship services and events, preparing beverages in the cafe and participating in the music ministry.
811 Pemberton Hill Road #4, Dallas
Equest’s mission to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs by partnering with horses to bring hope is a unique one. It also equates to a unique set of volunteer needs, including help maintaining and cleaning horse stalls, paddocks, arenas and the barn. You can also train to be one of the organization’s miniature horse ambassadors, working directly with the animals and people to form healing bonds.
1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas
Enjoy the fresh air while volunteering on Saturdays and Sundays at the 5-acre deck park. Opportunities include assisting guests at the game carts by checking games in and out and assisting with park-related questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional ways to volunteer.