Ways to volunteer, socially distanced


Northern Star Staff

Alison Pacey, 14 Genoa, plays with a few cats at Tails Humane Society, 2250 Barber Greene Road, as a part of her volunteer hours.

By Kennedy Jones

Volunteering has always been a way for students to give back to their community or help those in need. During a pandemic volunteering might not be the same as it used to be with social distance and other precautions in place. 

However, here are some places to volunteer and how you can still help out responsibly.

Hope Haven

Hope Haven, 1145 Rushmore Drive, is a local homeless shelter. Aside from providing shelter, individuals can also get meals and clothes if there’s extra clothing donations. It also helps people transition back into the community and become successful living independently, Angie Shaulis said, the Coordinator for the Emergency Shelter. 

“[Prior to COVID-19,] we had all varying degrees of volunteer opportunities,” Shaulis said. People could volunteer to serve meals, clean the shelter and come in to tutor the children living at the shelter, Shaulis said. 

The shelter has been allowing people to donate things like books, because the residents are under strict movement due to COVID-19 precautions, Shaulis siad.

When dropping off donations like food, people will need to ring the doorbell and a staff member will meet them outside to collect the donations, Shaulis said. 

The Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army, 1814 Sycamore Road, is working with health officials at the local, state and federal level to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers, according to their website.

In DeKalb, some volunteer opportunities are as a bell ringer and food pantry assistants, according to the website. A bell ringer is someone that stands outside stores with a kettle for donations during the holiday seasons between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are no requirements to be a bell ringer, and for anyone that wants more information, visit the Salvation Army’s my impact page. Registration ends on Thursday, Dec. 20 and the final day for bell ringers is Dec. 24. 

The food pantry assistant helps prepare and provide meals to clients. Some of the duties include stocking shelves, packaging food boxes and assisting in the food collection, according to their my impact page. People can become an assistant by filling out the application on the my impact page.

The food pantry is open 9 a.m to noon Monday through Friday, and 5 to 6:45 p.m Thursdays, according to the website.

Tails Humane Society  

Tails Humane Society, 2250 Barber Greene Road, offers a variety of exciting opportunities designed to provide the best quality of life for homeless animals at the shelter, according to their website. 

For anyone that wants to volunteer, there are applications that should be filled out on their website, and once Tails’ staff review the application, someone from the shelter will reach out to set up an orientation date. 

Tails is taking volunteers and due to COVID-19 precautions

“Orientations now are limited to ten people per orientation,” Ali Taylor, said the Volunteer and Outreach Manager

Volunteer orientations are also being held in the indoor exercise room due to COVID-19 because it’s bigger and people can be 10 feet apart from each other, Taylor said.

Some possible volunteer activities people can do can be found on their website. A few examples include dog, cat and little critters socializing, as well as brooms and brushes. If they sign up for broom and brushes duties, volunteers will perform tasks like sweeping and refilling water bowls throughout the shelter, according to the website. When volunteers are socializing with the animals they are making sure the animals receive an equal amount of attention allowing them to be more adoptable, according to the website. 

Kishwaukee United Way 

On the Kishwaukee United Way website there is a list of ways for people to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One volunteer opportunity is with the DeKalb Park District by participating in park clean up. Supplies and instruction will be available for pick up at the Sports & Rec Center, 1765 S. Fourth St., after arrangements have been made after calling (815) 758-7756.

People can also donate personal protective equipment including surgical glows, medical masks and face shields, according to the website. Donations should also be in the original packaging. For anyone wanting to make a donation call (815) 748-2431 to make arrangements.

Donations can be dropped off from 8 a. m to 4:30 p. m. Monday through Friday at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, 1350 W. Prairie Drive Sycamore, according to the website.