Spring is in the air and even though we might be jumping the gun with pulling out the shorts and flip-flops, a crop of exciting environmental volunteer opportunities are on the horizon. As the weather continues to warm, keep an eye out for opportunities with great agencies like The Esplanade Association, The Food Project, EarthWorks and Gaining Ground. Hopefully this weather will also inspire you to do a little spring cleaning! I know that the bar in my closet is sagging a bit from all the clothes hung on it, and there are some really worthy organizations that will be glad to take some of that weight for you. Men’s clothes are especially needed at the New England Center for Homeless Vets and Friday Night Supper Program (located in the basement of Arlington Street Church). Women’s clothes can be dropped off at Women’s Lunch Place or Rosie’s Place. And if you have more than just clothes, Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain is a fantastic second-hand shop where all the proceeds from sales benefit the AIDS Action Committee. Do some good while making room for your spring wardrobe!
In the News
The trickle-down effects of the Bernie Madoff scandal are still being felt by numerous individuals and families who lost their life savings. But several nonprofits will be deeply affected as well, following the March 1 ruling that “investors’ losses should be defined as the difference between the cash paid into a Madoff account and the amount withdrawn before the massive fraud collapsed in December 2008.” The Boston-based Shapiro Family Foundation was hit hard by the Madoff scheme, and this ruling, if not reversed, will strongly affect the Foundation’s ability to give millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits all over Boston, including Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Museum of Fine Arts. For the complete article, click here.
Agency Spotlight: Red Cross Food Pantry
I would be remiss in this blog if I didn’t highlight one of my absolute favorite volunteer experiences. You probably first think of disaster relief and blood drives when it comes to the American Red Cross, but this Captain Planet of nonprofits is fighting the hunger battle as well. Located around the corner from the South Bay Center on Mass Ave., the Red Cross Food Pantry is a truly unique volunteer experience. Pantry clients are provided with a 3-day supply of food, everything from pasta and rice to canned goods to fresh meats and produce. They distribute food every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and with the increase in demand on hunger relief agencies, Red Cross serves upwards of 400 clients in a 3-hour period. If you already did the math, you would have figured out that the only way to serve that many people in 3 hours is to work at a break-neck speed. Volunteers do everything from packing food bags to distribution to crowd control, and though it’s hard to drag yourself out there at 8:30 in the morning, it’s 100% worth it, I promise you. I officially put my seal of approval on this agency. And if you give this project a shot, tell Sharon (the kick-ass floor manager who you’ll fall in love with 2.3 seconds after meeting her) I said hi!
All of these projects are found on the Boston Cares Calendar—check them out, and if you like what you see, sign up to become a member!
Tutor Kids in Writing with WriteBoston: brush up on your parallel structure and citation rules, and point these high schoolers in the “write” direction. Pun intended.
Distribute Food at the Harvest Food Pantry: guiding clients 1:1 through this food pantry in Cambridge is the reason volunteers love going there, and I would bet that you’d love it too.
Resume/Cover Letter Critique at the Work Place: if the economic downturn has given you plenty of resume-writing practice, share it with eager job-seekers who appreciate the help!
Kelly Clark, Boston Cares