This is my second installment of “Try This!” and I hope to bring you ideas each week – whether it is a craft, a recipe, something in the community, a place to see, etc. Today’s “Try This!” is focused on community service. I am big on community service, because it is a great way to be involved in communities and help non-profit organizations achieve their goals. Plus it is usually fun to get involved! Below are three organizations in Charlottesville that I have volunteered with in the past:
1) Habitat for Humanity. Yesterday was the first time I helped out at a Habitat worksite. We have all heard of and seen their work in our community. My uncle used to work for Habitat and within the past few years retired from carpentry work, which is one way I have heard of their projects. There are different sections in Charlottesville and one of the sites you can get plugged into is the Belmont Cottages off of Avon Street. They take volunteers of any experience level and will teach you what you need to know to help out at the site. You can commit to one morning or return as often as you like. They are building low income and market rate housing on Avon Street now and most of the homeowners will likely be refugees. One need may be on-site translating for families as they volunteer to build homes. Call (434) 293-9066.
2) Friends of the Library. This organization hosts annual book sales at Gordon Avenue Library to raise money for our local public libraries so that both children and adults have access to books and educational materials. Their book sales are made possible by the volunteers that help setup, organize the shelves, and man the registers. When I was in k-12, I would work alongside my mom and help with these book sales. They also take donations of books. Libraries themselves also take volunteers year-round that help carry out the logistics like stocking shelves, helping patrons use computers, and behind-the-scenes work. At the library I volunteered at in Harrisonburg, I helped re-cover books, discard old materials, and teach patrons how to use the computers. Call (434) 977-8467.
3) SPCA. Before the local SPCA opened up their permanent Rummage Store on Preston Avenue, I helped with their annual warehouse sale. They will take volunteers that are willing to help at their main site off of Berkmar Drive. There they keep animals and need help with pet care, building maintenance, and adoption events. Call (434) 973-5959.
These are just three ideas of how you can help out in the Charlottesville community – other ideas include volunteering at the hospitals, food banks, soup kitchens, Rivanna River clean up projects, and educational programs. Even if you only have a couple hours each week to help out, I am sure there is a organization that needs you.