For the past year, many nonprofit organizations had to step up in a world hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, nonprofit groups have relied heavily on their volunteers to help continue their work in communities, including here in the Upstate.
Many organizations have been able to keep going due to the hard work of not only the nonprofit’s employees but the everyday people who contribute their time and energy toward charitable causes.
“A lot of our nonprofit organizations, in particular, rely so heavily on volunteer help and during the pandemic, donations were down for many organizations and we were able to work it out with our schedules,” said Risé Wilson, a volunteer in Greenville for Meals on Wheels.
She said she and her husband, Adam Wilson, felt it was important for the community.
Of course, volunteering wasn’t the same as it had been. At Meals on Wheels in Greenville, volunteers said there was less interaction between volunteers delivering meals to homebound individuals than there may have been before. However, that was necessary, they said, to keep everyone safe.
“Meals on Wheels did a terrific job, I think, of putting precautions in place so that you would ring the doorbell and make sure that the person received it, but often you would leave it on the step and step back,” Risé Wilson said. “I think it was effective and it got the job done.”
Volunteering also became a social outlet. It allowed people to get out of their houses and see other people.
“During [much of the pandemic] there wasn’t a lot of social things to do, so ironically, this turned into part of a social thing, too,” said Adam Wilson, Risé’s husband and fellow Meals on Wheels volunteer.
There’s also a sense of responsibility to the community, noted Harvest Hope volunteer Carrin Hahn.
“It’s important that people have nutrition and not have to worry about the stress in their life of having food or finding food or being able to afford food,” she said.
It’s a sentiment that fellow volunteer Steve Shafer shares. He said that people have a duty to make their communities better.
“All of us have the responsibility of being part of the Greenville community to make it a better place to where it welcomes, and supports, not just those that are successful, but also those that may be struggling and to help them to get back on their feet,” Shafer said.
Yvette Powe has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels in Greenville for years. She said that volunteering during this time has been a win-win for her, especially as many of the clients of Meals on Wheels had little social interaction over the past year due to the pandemic.
“You don’t realize how much you get out of it by helping others. I’ve had a few clients at Meals on Wheels, I think I’ve benefited more from helping them than they did from me helping them,” she said.