Volunteers with Kennedy Seniors Society in a photo entered in Volunteer BC’s photo contest in celebration of National Volunteer Week. (Courtesy Volunteer BC)

‘Virtual Volunteering’ touted during National Volunteer Week (April 19-25)

Volunteer BC celebrated its 40th anniversary last year

Like most events right now, National Volunteer Week is a virtual celebration.

Volunteers across Canada are recognized from April 19 to 25, during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of volunteering in the country.

Lorelynn Hart, program director for Volunteer BC, said the organization has noticed an increase in the number of people willing to volunteer this spring, now that most have more free time.

“We know that people are coming out of the woodwork to help, to volunteer, which is great,” she said.

“We have noticed many more self-organizers, people who organize their own volunteer efforts to make masks or items like that,” Hart added. “With no events happening, it’s changed with how volunteers can get involved, but we are working on more virtual volunteering opportunities, how people can get involved that way, rather than in-person or in an office. We’re really noticing a surge in the type of volunteers needed for things like pickup and drop-offs of groceries, things like that, where people can’t do that for themselves.”

READ ALSO: B.C. 211 hotline expands to link COVID-19 homebound seniors, volunteers

A photo contest online at volunteerbc.bc.ca affords a chance to “applaud this country’s volunteers,” with cash prizes for first, second and third place.

“We’re really encouraging all non-profit groups that have volunteers to send us photos of their volunteers, and we’re highlighting them on social media,” Hart explained. “I don’t care how many [photos] I get, I will post them all to recognize them, which is what it’s all about.”

Volunteer BC, incorporated as a society in 1979, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.

The goal of Volunteer BC is “to help British Columbians mobilize their talents as volunteers, offer education opportunities, provide useful tools/ways to address critical community needs,” according to the organization’s Twitter bio.

Volunteer Canada’s website says “almost 13 million Canadian volunteers deserve our coast-to-coast-to-coast cheers for their dedication and generosity. Let’s all join together to applaud their immense contribution to our country, our communities and millions of our lives during National Volunteer Week (NVW).”

The website includes opportunities for “Virtual Volunteering,” which is done online, via computers, tablets, or smartphones, usually off-site from the non-profit organization being supported.

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