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Looking to volunteer while social distancing? Here are a few quarantine-friendly options

From donating blood to school supplies, United Way of Greater Austin has compiled a list of ways to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — Nonprofit organization United Way for Greater Austin put together a list of quarantine-friendly volunteer opportunities for their Spring Season of Caring.

In past years, their Spring Day of Caring has provided ways to give back to the Austin community before summer. This year, they decided to expand their volunteer efforts into a season-long effort during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This year COVID-19 really changed the way we do everything," said Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez, the corporate volunteer manager with United Way. "So we were thinking of a way to still connect with the community, and we came up with this idea, Spring Season of Caring with different volunteer opportunities for folks to do, either while safely social distancing or virtually from their own home."

Some highlights of their spring 2020 volunteer program include:

Become a Senior Buddy

As seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are in need of help to get groceries and prescriptions. Volunteers will be matched with a senior or multiple seniors to assist with errands.

Donate blood

Due to COVID-19, Central Texas-based We Are Blood is in need of donations now more than ever. The FDA has recently revised its blood donor eligibility requirements, which allow additional community members to donate blood or platelets and help protect the blood supply for patients.

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Natural disaster relief training

United Way for Greater Austin has already started preparation for hurricane season. Volunteers can assist with their 2-1-1 “call for help” line during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and fires. 

The nonprofit is offering free, two-hour training for people interested in volunteering for four-hour helpline shifts between August and October, which is the peak hurricane season for Texas.

Support a child care center

Donate learning tools or school supplies for United Way and Austin Independent School District's Pre-K Partnership families. Their program serves hundreds of families at low-income schools. 

Many young students are at home because of school closures while their parents are providing essential work. United Way is collecting toys, games and art supplies to help keep these young students learning and stimulated while at home. 

Those interested in supporting this program can email volunteer@uwatx.org by April 15 for more information.   

Make masks for first responders

Williamson County is looking for volunteers to join its "Mask Brigade." Anyone with a sewing machine is urged to sign up to help make fabric masks to be provided to first repsonders, medical professionals and others.

Williamson County is accepting two types of masks – the COVID Ranger Mask, designed to go over the N95 mask to extend its life, and the Pleated Pattern Mask.

Anyone interested is asked to go to www.wilco.org/howcanIhelp or contact organizers at COVID-19Masks@wilco.org.

Thank you videos

"We're also working on an H-E-B thank you video, so folks will film videos of themselves and send them to me," said Gutierrez-Ramirez. "We'll collect them all and send them to H-E-B to thank them for all the hard work they're doing to keep us fed."

Find a complete list of active volunteer opportunities, with more added each week, here.

WATCH: How to donate homemade masks to Austin health care workers

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