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04/07/2020

First Lady Frances Wolf: Volunteerism Remains Essential with Stay At Home Order in Place

Mount Wolf, PA - Today, First Lady Frances Wolf reminded Pennsylvanians that volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services in Pennsylvania remain an essential activity, even with a statewide stay at home order in place until April 30. She encourages residents who are able to continue assisting local organizations with delivering services to their communities, while also following necessary safety precautions.  

“Although many of the state’s operations have slowed down dramatically, we still desperately need volunteers to deliver life-sustaining services to our fellow citizens,” stated First Lady Wolf. “Ensuring that Pennsylvanians continue to have access to food, medical services, and other essentials remains a priority for the administration. As a consequence, we ask local communities across the state join us with our work to guarantee that all residents receive the services they need during this COVID-19 pandemic. The work that each of us puts in each day to help our neighbors will determine how we fare in this global crisis.”    
 
Several options exist for individuals seeking volunteer opportunities in their areas, as well as organizations and agencies in need of volunteers. The PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, whose mission is to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania in times of great need, has compiled a host of resources to assist volunteer efforts throughout the state.  

How to find Volunteer Opportunities 

·         Contact a volunteer agency or center directly to inquire about their needs; 

·         Visit PA211 for volunteer opportunities posted by agencies seeking volunteer help; or 

·         Register at ServPa to create a volunteer profile. When prompted, choose “COVID Volunteers” as your “organization”, then follow the links.  

Prior to volunteering, it’s imperative that individuals perform a self-screen to ensure they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, like a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.  

How to Find Volunteers 

·         Connect with partner organizations and other local assistance; 

·         Use PA211 to post volunteer needs and other COVID-19 related needs; 

·         If you work for a church, contact Kenton Hunt at the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at sbdrpj.recov@gmail.com. SBDR is collecting information from churches across the state willing to assist with local efforts. 

·         If volunteer or other needs continue to go unmet, contact your local Emergency Management Office

Local agencies recruiting volunteers are responsible for providing supervision, following their standard health and safety procedures in addition to any other precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the PA Department of Health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and communicating essential information with all volunteers.  

“Volunteers are critical for bolstering community safety networks,” said PAVOAD Board Member Julia Menzo. “Churches, fitness communities, civic organizations, individuals and families, all are critical partners in volunteer efforts to help all Pennsylvanians beat this pandemic. Please reach out to your local helping agencies today to see how you can get involved. Remote and in-person opportunities are available.” 

Volunteers and agencies alike should continue to practice the simple yet effective steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:  

·         Cough and sneeze into your elbow; 

·         Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap is not available; 

·         Keep 6 feet of space between people; 

·         Clean surfaces with soap and water, and  

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  

Additionally, Governor Wolf advised all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons.

For more information on volunteering, contact the office Pennsylvania Voluntary Agency Liaison at emvalarep@pa.gov.  
 
Up to date information on COVID-19 health and safety precautions can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Madeline Williams - madwilliam@pa.gov or 717-602-3909

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