Local organization helps boost volunteer numbers with nonprofits during pandemic

National

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Times of crisis can bring out the best in people. When demand for help during the pandemic spiked, Volunteer Hampton Roads answered.

Volunteer Hampton Roads deployed more than 9,000 volunteers last year. The executive director, Stephanie Gorham, said being able to provide for those in need is their mission.

“We love being the connector, and we love filling the gaps,” she said.

Gorham said filling in the gaps and providing resources for nonprofit organizations is something they’ve been doing in Hampton Roads for 63 years. But last year’s need really hit home.

“In 2020, we deployed over 9,000 volunteers just in response to the pandemic. And I mean, that’s almost double we did the year before.,” she said.

Through the pandemic, they saw a large need for meal preparation, meal packaging, health care assistance and other essential needs. Nonprofits saw a big need for volunteers. They even sent volunteers to help the Mercy Chefs during their deployment to help Texas.

“It is a huge effort to add on recruitment and management of volunteers. And that is what we do, and we do it very well. So it’s awesome to be able to step up and help our peers, our community to help them meet their mission by us doing ours,” she said.

And it’s a mission they’re doing now with less funding to their own projects.

“If I can be frank, honestly, I think there’s been some worry points for us. We’ve had some funding that normally came to us that was redirected for direct service. Which we absolutely agree and support. We’re not complaining, but it’s hard to still scale up the service we’re providing with less funding,” she said.

She said they are talking with new partners and believe they’ll get back to where they were all as long as they can continue to do their work.

If you are interested in volunteering with them or you need their services click here.

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