WICHITA, Kan. (Release written by Volunteer Kansas) – Dramatic and sudden changes in our day to day lives due to COVID-19 are leaving Kansans feeling frightened, especially the medically vulnerable advised to socially isolate, and people whose livelihoods are impacted by mandated closures.
While the government is ramping up to do what they can to help with these burdens, Volunteer Kansas wants to help by leveraging its online platform to connect people who need help with those who want to help.
“We believe in the power of communities to help one another through volunteerism, so we have modified our online platform to allow for individuals to voluntarily help other individuals cope with the impacts of the pandemic,” said Nola Brown, executive director of Volunteer Kansas.
The new feature is found under the Exchange tab of the website. People who register as volunteer members of the site can post either their needs or what they have to offer. This includes financial needs and help related to income loss due to the coronavirus, Brown said.
“This is the perfect time to remind people how our site works and encourage folks to visit, list their need or what they are willing to do to help others,” Brown said. “The matches are made through an email exchange via Volunteer Kansas’ website.”
The directions are as follows:
- Anyone with a need may list that need online by registering on the website as a volunteer, logging in and completing the “Need” form on the Exchange page. Needs may include things such as asking for help getting groceries or prescriptions delivered, help with car or home repairs, help assisting children with distance learning or childcare, etc.
- A volunteer who wants to help meet a “Need” can click on “view details” of a listing and complete the form to make contact with the person in need.
- Conversely, a volunteer who wants to offer their talents, supplies or services may register on the website as a volunteer, log in and complete the “Have” form on the Exchange page listing what they are willing to offer for free.
- Anyone registered to the site person who sees a listing for something they need click “view details” on the “Have” listing and complete the form to make contact with that individual.
- Additionally, through the Exchange page of our website, individuals may also ask for financial help. We encourage those with financial needs to use the GoFundMe or similar platform to describe their need and invite donations. They may then post a link to their GoFundMe campaign in their “Need” listing, following the instructions above. Potential donors wishing to help will be able to review the needs and decide for themselves who they would like to help. We ask that these types of requests be limited to $1,000 or less and focus on specific bills or expenses due to hardships created because of the pandemic.
“Detailed instruction for how to use the Exchange are on our website www.volunteerkansas.org and we have also provided a link to KMUW’s COVID-19 Resource Guide, which summarizes the safety net supports from governments, private and non-profit organizations. “We are just trying to do everything we can to help everyone who needs it,” said Brown, who gives community volunteer Polly Basore Wenzl credit for getting the ball moving on this project.
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Volunteer Kansas, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Wichita, Kansas. WWW.Volunteerkansas.org is the organization’s website devoted to increasing volunteerism in the state of Kansas and providing a hub for Kansans to find other Kansans who may need volunteer or material help. The website is a free service to individuals and organizations.