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Springfield’s Give 5 program goes virtual during pandemic

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 11:24 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A program encouraging retirees to volunteer their time in the Springfield community is not giving up because of the pandemic.

The Give 5 program is now going virtual. Usually, participants in the United Way’s Give 5 program meet in person and go on bus trips to nonprofits, seeing behind the scenes to learn about volunteer opportunities. The first meeting of the new Give 5 virtual class happened Tuesday, for two hours over a Zoom call. They’ll have three more meetings over the coming days. Participants will get virtual tours and an in-depth look at many Springfield area nonprofits from the comfort of home.

The Give 5 program encourages retirees to give at least five hours a month toward a cause of their choice.

The program asked nonprofit organizations to try to provide volunteer opportunities in three categories for retirees right now. They includes work from their computer, work from home, or on-site opportunities in a safe manner. Some opportunities may include gardening, book work at home, or making phone calls.

Give 5 participant, Candace Landreth, just retired from teaching high school English in May. She is not letting the pandemic get in her way.

“Since I’m familiar enough with Zoom that I knew that I could still see people and at least get the facial connection, I decided, yes. This was the way to go, not wait until the next in-person meeting was going to be set up.”

She and the rest of the Give 5 virtual class are looking forward to finding meaningful ways to spend their time.

“When you think about this idea of virtual matchmaking, civic matchmaking, well it’s easy to say that’s going to be too difficult during a pandemic. We think this is exactly the right time,” says Greg Burris, United Way of the Ozarks president and CEO and Give 5 co-founder.

“We are seeing that some people are willing to come out and volunteer if the protocols are safe, and others are willing to volunteer from home, so it’s a nice fit, because I think we’re probably all suffering from a little bit of PTSD," Burris says. "We’re all suffering from a little bit of a taste of what it is like to socially isolate, and so this is a really good program for connecting people to those opportunities and see if it’s a good match.”

Those who don’t have access to technology may also participate. The United Way will provide them a safe place to join in virtually. The next Give 5 class will likely be in early 2021.

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