Dr Martin Luther King Jr day has morphed over the past decade or so into a day of community service, which is a wonderful way to remember the great civil-rights leader.
The United Way coordinates many of the community-service projects that allows local folks to help their neighbors. Some of the projects are ongoing, and the organizations running them rightfully use MLK Day to call attention to them and to recruit volunteers.
As it turns out, all of the volunteer spots for MLK Day–only opportunities were already taken by press time, so all of the projects listed below are ongoing. Feel free to contact the ones you’re interested in at your convenience.
RSVP OF DURHAM COUNTY (Durham Technical Community College, 1637 E Lawson St, Building 3)—If you’re age 55+, you can volunteer to offer one-on-one tutoring to students from kindergarten to 12th grade at a school of your choice. The focus is usually on literacy, but not always. Contact Paula Reif at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
GIRLS ON THE RUN OF THE TRIANGLE (1415 W Hwy 54, Suite 211)—Women coaches are encouraged to serve as role models and mentors for girls in grades 3 through 8. A 10-week running program that helps develop character operates from September 25 to December 9, and practices are held at various participating schools. Contact Hannah Robinson at email@example.com for more info.
AMERICAN RED CROSS, CENTRAL CHAPTER (4737 University Dr)—Volunteers are needed to use Red Cross vehicles to deliver lifesaving products to hospitals. Weekday availability is best, but you can choose regular or substitute times that work with your schedule. The minimum age is 21 and you must be able to lift 45 pounds.
Volunteers are also needed to serve as greeters and canteen volunteers. Greeters welcome donors to blood drives and hands out reading materials. Canteen volunteers pass out refreshments to donors after they’re done and observe them to make sure they’re not having any bad reactions. You can choose to volunteer at the office or to help out on mobile drives. Shifts last from 2 to 4 hours and you can volunteer weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you.
Volunteers are also needed to join the Disaster Action Team (DAT). Training is provided so that you can help provide food, shelter, and comfort to people who have been adversely affected by everyday disasters such as household fires. Each shift is “on-call” for a week at a time, and on average, DAT members get one call per week. Contact Jeffrey Isaacson at 919-489-6541 x4120 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
SENIOR PHARMASSIST (Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Ave, Suite 201)—Volunteer receptionists are needed to greet people on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 2–4pm, as they arrive for appointments, to answer phone calls, and to provide administrative help. Contact Viki Baker at 919-688-4772 or 919-682-0444 for more info.
DURHAM LITERACY CENTER (1905 Chapel Hill Rd)—Volunteer tutors are needed for the youth education program, which focuses on students ages 16 to 24. Lessons for preparing the students for their GED are offered Monday through Thursday, 9–11:30am. Choose as many days that fit with your schedule. Contact Shondra Brewer at 919-489-8383 or email@example.com for more info.
HOUSING FOR NEW HOPE—Volunteers are needed to build picnic tables and plant flowers to help beautify the Cole Mill Place Apartments. All supplies will be provided. Contact Melissa Hartzell at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
DURHAM ECONOMIC RESOURCE CENTER (Shoppes at Lakewood, 2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 28)—DERC helps to alleviate poverty by offering skill development and job training/placement. Volunteers are needed to tutor adults in basic math and grammar, provide one-on-one life coaching, and/or help with office tasks (filing, making/answering telephone calls, and social media). Contact Jackie Brown at 919-682-5912 x3 or email@example.com for more info.
MEALS ON WHEELS (2522 Ross Rd)—Volunteers are needed to help this nonprofit that provides meals to 300+ isolated people (mostly elderly) every day. Packers/carriers sort the meals when they arrive by separating hot and cold foods, and then help load them into the drivers’ vehicles. Volunteer drivers deliver an average of 10 to 15 meals on specific routes; they usually arrive around 10am and spend 1 to 1.5 hours making deliveries. Administrative support volunteers help answer phones and do data entry. Volunteer craftspersons install doorbells and repair items in the MOW office. Speak-up volunteers help spread the word about MOW’s mission (and to encourage prospective volunteers). Special-event volunteers help plan and set up special events, of which there are several per year. Gardening/lawncare volunteers help spruce up the MOW grounds and make it a lovely place to work.
Groups/organizations are invited to dedicate a few hours per week or month (Durham County employees volunteer as a group once a month). Two ways groups can help is by being Weekend-meal volunteers; they can prepare sandwiches that will be delivered with the Friday meals. Group members can also be Craft volunteers and make individual holiday, thinking-of-you, and/or birthday cards for clients. Call 919-667-9424 for more info.
HOUSING FOR NEW HOPE (18 W Colony Pl, Suite 250)—Their new Rapid Re-housing program aims to move 45 families and 35 individuals from homelessness into their own homes in 2018, in partnership with Urban Ministries of Durham, Genesis Home, and Interfaith Hospitality Network. Volunteers are needed to pick up boxes of food and then drive a moving truck to a showroom so new homeowners can go “shopping” for furniture. They’ll help load the truck and move them into their new home. Contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
ELNA B SPAULDING CONFLICT RESOLUTION CENTER (634 Foster St)—A volunteer is needed who can hardwire the center’s computers through the ceiling to the internet (the wireless router has been unreliable). Ideally, the volunteer will be able to stop by at least once a month (even after 5pm or on weekends) to help out with technology issues and maintenance. The center will provide all necessary supplies. Contact Grace Marsh at 919-680-4575 for more info.
DURHAM CENTER FOR SENIOR LIFE (406 Rigsbee St)—A volunteer African Dance instructor is needed to teach a weekly (or twice-weekly) class, depending on his or her schedule. A volunteer program evaluator is needed who can help in improving the classes and programs offered at DCSL. A friendly volunteer (age 55+) who’s familiar with computers is needed to serve as the front-desk receptionist on Thursday afternoons. Training will be provided. A volunteer conversational Spanish instructor is needed to lead a beginners’ class at least once a week. Call 919-688-8247 for more info.
DURHAM CRISIS RESPONSE CENTER (206 N Dillard St)—Volunteer crisis line advocates are needed to field calls and offer emotional support and information to victims of domestic and sexual violence (the crisis line operates 24 hours a day). Volunteers also accompany victims to the hospital and refer them to resources in the community. Forty hours of training is provided. Volunteer hospital responders take calls from victims of sexual assault and domestic violence during evening hours and on weekends. Thirty-five hours of training is provided. Spanish-speaking advocate volunteers are needed to take calls on the 24-hour crisis line to help Hispanic/Latina victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Court advocate volunteers help victims navigate through the court system. Future or current criminal-justice and law students could make good court advocates. Volunteers are needed to help out at Pennies for Change, DCRC’s thrift store—they can sort donations, organize clothes, set up store displays, and assist customers. Call 919-403-6562 for more info.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS—Students living in poverty are given help and resources to help them and their families with basic needs. Donations would be greatly appreciated. Students and their families could use: nonperishable foods (especially breakfast items), rewards/incentives (treats/candies, gift cards); self-care items, including body wash, toiletries, lotion, and hair accessories; uniforms (khakis, shirts, etc); and school supplies, including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, and calculators. The CIS office could also use items like paper towels, hand soap, cleaning supplies, and copy paper. Call 919-403-1936 for more info.