Volunteer guide: 10 ways to give back in Charlotte

Volunteer guide: 10 ways to give back in Charlotte

Ashley Manning’s Valentine’s Day Widow Outreach served 121 people in 2021. Photo courtesy Ashley Manning

Presented by Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region ReStores. Love home decor and helping the community? Volunteer at one of the area’s six ReStores.

Whether you’re supporting a widow on Valentine’s Day, a refugee new to the area, students and teachers, there are plenty of ways to give back in Charlotte.

Situational awareness: Organizations often see an increase in volunteers and giving from November to December, but needs last all year, not just around the holidays.

Here are 10 ways to support your community this month and beyond:

1. Shower a widow with love on Valentine’s Day

Ashley Manning, who owns Pretty Things by AE Manning, organized a Valentine’s Day Widow Outreach program to provide love and encouragement to neighbors on what can be a difficult day. Volunteers will gather Feb. 12-13 to craft arrangements and gift bags for nominees, that will be delivered on Feb. 14.
  • Email vdaywidowoutreach@gmail.com to volunteer.
  • Nominations poured in since we first spoke to Manning on Jan. 28. At that time, she had 81 nominations, with a goal of reaching 150.
  • As of Feb. 7, more than 340 women had been nominated. Nominations are closed, but they need additional financial support to serve each person. Last year, by comparison, the outreach provided 121 arrangements.

2. Help Charlotte’s furry friends

Support the city’s fur babies as a Humane Society of Charlotte volunteer.

Of note: Volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination.

Fight hunger

It’s time for Empty Bowls, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s event raising awareness about hunger in the region. Potters will donate hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls to serve as a reminder that someone’s bowl is always empty.

  • Empty Bowls is taking place for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic. The last event raised almost $ 100,000.
  • Learn more here.

Location: Richardson Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center

Date: March 18

Time: 11:30 am until 1pm

4. Give your time

More than 500 people annually volunteer 18,000 hours at Levine Children’s Hospital, supporting children and families by reading stories, coloring and playing games. Other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Assisting office staff by answering phones, paging staff, making copies or filing, greeting patients, families and visitors and helping with patient transport and discharge.
  • Learn more here.

Of note: Volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and masked at all times.

5. Help the Hope Tank

Join Hope Vibes for their upcoming service days around Charlotte, where the Hope Tank, a converted vehicle providing hot showers, clean laundry and more to Charlotte’s homeless neighbors.

6. Support Time Out Youth Center

Volunteer opportunities are limited due to the pandemic, but you can support Charlotte’s LGBTQ community without volunteering in-person.

  • Contact James Rice III, TOY’s associate director of communications and community partnerships to learn more.
  • Email: jrice@timeoutyouth.org.

7. Donate your time

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, including:

  • Telling children stories.
  • Listening to kids read.
  • Conducting flash-card drills.

Learn more here.

8. Support refugees

Welcome Home is a grassroots, independent community project, providing aid and relief to new refugees in the Charlotte area.

  • Donate new or gently used items.
  • Sponsor a family for up to six months, helping cover costs for rent, utilities and groceries.
  • Learn more here.

Go deeper: Charlotte does not have enough housing for wave of Afghans

9. Volunteer remotely

Classroom Central offers several ways to volunteer remotely.

  • Send notes of support to students and teachers.
  • Knit hats, scarves and chair socks. The latter helps with classroom noise.
  • Create bookmarks and flashcards.
  • Learn more here.

10. Donate

Do not let a busy schedule keep you from making an impact. Donate funds to a cause dear to your heart.

  • Valentine’s Day Widow Outreach via Venmo, @prettythingsbyaem. Here are more ways to donate.
  • Humane Society of Charlotte here.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank here.
  • Levine Children’s here.
  • Hope Vibes here.
  • Time Out Youth Center here.
  • Contact CMS to discuss donation opportunities here.
  • Welcome Home here.
  • Classroom Central here.

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