Volunteer Opportunities While Social Distancing

Related topics: Senior Life

Millions of older adults volunteer. Their service is both of inestimable value to our country, and a vital part of senior wellness. Volunteering has been found to promote healthy aging in many ways.

But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors are unable to take part in their usual volunteer activities. Many report feeling a real letdown as they no longer have this way to give back and stay connected.

The Corporation for National & Community Service is sharing 10 great ideas for volunteer service during this time, for people of every age. Not every volunteer opportunity will be appropriate for you. Follow the recommendations for social distancing that apply to your age, health condition, whether you live in a senior living community, and the coronavirus situation in your area. Ask your doctor if you're not sure an in-person volunteer task is safe for you.


Cash donations are the best way to support the nonprofit of your choice. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has a list of organizations supporting COVID-19 response efforts. GuideStar and Great Nonprofits also have search engines to locate organizations that need help.

food pantry

Donate to food banks and pantries to help them stock up or volunteer at a food bank that needs help packing and sorting food using safe practices. Visit Feeding America or Food Pantries to find an organization near you.

Meals on Wheels

Help out someone you know or contact your local Meals on Wheels to learn ways to volunteer.


Check with your area school system to see if they need volunteers to distribute food (or other items) to children and families in need.


Blood donations have decreased dramatically. Help fill the need by contacting your local Red Cross or other blood donation sites.

medical volunteers

Trained medical volunteers can offer their services by registering with a National VOAD member. Medical professionals and others can help locally by joining the Medical Reserve Corps or registering through Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals. 

medical supplies

If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please email FEMA's National Business Emergency Operations Center at nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov.

Check in

Check on your neighbors, friends, and family‚ÄĒespecially those who are older or may be alone. A phone call, text, or a conversation through the door could brighten their day.

Volunteer opportunities

Many states are identifying local volunteer opportunities; visit your State Service Commission's website for details.

Prefer to volunteer while staying at home? Check out AllForGood.org for service ideas.

Source: The Corporation for National & Community Service, which includes the SeniorCorps program.