Volunteer Response to COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We truly appreciate all who want to be involved as we face this emergency! As you use this site to find ways to volunteer, keep in mind that organizations are adapting their services and volunteer opportunities in alignment with current health guidance and the evolving needs of our community. We urge you to be flexible, proactive, and safe in your volunteer response, and to check back frequently for updates. 

Organized Ways You Can Help

Respond to Rising Food Insecurity

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Montgomery County has created a Food Security Task Force which is working to identify food insecurity issues and leverage resources to support our nonprofit partners and assist residents in need. Food assistance providers are experiencing a huge surge in requests for services and we are working collectively to address needs. Volunteers, as well as donors of food and finances are part of the critical response needed. Many of the emergency response needs and donation requests on our website are to support organizations providing food. Learn more about the amazing network of food providers and COVID-19 response on the Montgomery County Food Council website.

Resources for Grassroots Volunteers

Are you looking for ways to organize or find neighborhood help in your community? While the Volunteer Center focuses on connecting volunteers with official nonprofit and government agencies, here are some emerging "unaffiliated" ways that neighbors are assisting neighbors or organizing special volunteer activities through this emergency. (If you have suggested additions to this list, email us at volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov.)
 
Nextdoor.com : You can join this online neighborhood communications platform to follow and contribute to discussions about volunteer efforts. Plus, it now features Nextdoor Help Maps, which allow you to sign up to offer a particular type of assistance to other residents in your community. (If seeking help, you can message any of those who have offered.) In addition, your neighborhood may have special Nextdoor Groups devoted to volunteering or COVID-19.

Other Neighborhood Email Groups: Many neighborhoods, school clusters, and zip codes in Montgomery County have active listservs on Groups.io and/or Google Groups (and some may still be using Yahoo Groups, which is ceasing support and therefore has lost many groups). Discussions often center on COVID-19, including ways to serve during this emergency. 

Communities Unbreakable : This community-led effort uses an online tool to connect people to help provide non-urgent community support in several Montgomery County neighborhoods. The organizers, from Rockville, built their platform on free technology and have offered technical assistance for other neighborhoods that could make use of the platform. For more information, email communitiesunbreakablemoco@gmail.com.

MoCo Mask Makers : Montgomery County residents have joined forces to match people who are making face masks with individuals and organizations that have requested them. Site also includes mask patterns and instructions as well as information on donating mask-making supplies.

Teens Helping Seniors: High school students are coordinating a group of teen and adult volunteers to deliver (through no contact) essential supplies to older residents in a growing list of communities, including Germantown, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, and Silver Spring. Email  teenshelpingseniors@gmail.com to get involved.

Covaid Mutual Aid Connector: Developed by a group of college students and recent grads, this is an online tool designed to match neighborhood volunteers with the elderly and immunocompromised residents in need of help based on zip code.

Masks for a Safer Community (MASC): Organized by a group of high school students from Montgomery and Frederick counties, MASC provides free masks to senior living facilities and many others. Over the last month they have donated  over 12,000 masks to the community. Participate by donating to purchase masks, or connect to help with distribution. 
 
Taking Care While Being a Good Neighbor

As you reach out to help others, please protect yourself and those you are serving by taking the following precautions developed by Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Stay home unless you must be out for essential reasons.
  • Stay home from work, school, and all activities when you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
  • Keep away from others who are sick.
  • Limit close physical contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
  • Call, email, or text your neighbors who may need help.
  • If they are in need of immediate emergency care, call 911.
  • Limit your help to non-contact activities. For example:
    • Leave groceries on the doorstep. (Do not enter their house.)
    • Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching anything you deliver to them.
    • To promote social interactions and combat loneliness, speak with neighbors on the phone or by video chat (versus going into their homes) on a regular basis.
    • Conduct research on their needs and provide them with resources or connect them directly with help such as feeding, transportation to medical appointments, animal services, etc.
    • Alert authorities if you think that a neighbor is in danger.
  • Do not act on your own.
  • Create an online network for your community.
  • Remember to protect yourself first! Do not put yourself or others at risk.

Information for Organizations 

See our  COVID-19 for agencies page  for details on flagging your opportunities as "emergency response," recruiting "virtual volunteers," and more.