At-Home Service Projects
During this unusual time of COVID-19, students and families might be seeking meaningful ways to be and connect with each other with a deeper sense of purpose. While most in-person volunteer opportunities are temporarily suspended, there are ways to make a difference and have fun by engaging from a distance with your neighbors, community workers, and city-wide, national, and global initiatives. The following are ideas to consider:
From Mayor Keller:
“During this challenging time for our community, there are countless people stepping up and asking how they can help,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This is the One Albuquerque spirit; we are strong and resilient, and we can all pitch in to alleviate the impacts on those most in need. Even with social distancing in place, there are many ways to ‘be there’ for each other.”
Participate in an innovative initiative matching Bosque School families with Albuquerque’s refugee families through a partnership with Catholic Charities Center for Refugee Support:
The Virtual Language and Cultural Exchange Project provides an opportunity for cross-cultural connection by teaching basic and intermediate English vocabulary and learning beginners Pashto, Swahili, Arabic or Dari in exchange. Sign-up as a family (middle and upper school students) or as an individual (upper school students) to be matched with a family by completing this registration form no later than April 15th. More detailed program information is available here; please contact Anna Rutins with questions.
Make face masks for healthcare professionals, emergency responders, essential workers, and your friends and family: It’s well-known our country is experiencing a shortage of face masks. This recent article from CNN highlights sewing groups popping up around the country to support this need. A highly recommended local resource is the MaskCoversDriveNM20 Facebook page. This grass-roots group has delivered thousands of facemasks around New Mexico, and they are assisting with materials distribution for those with sewing machines.
For a national scope, here is a comprehensive list of medical facilities around the country who have opted-in to receive handmade masks. Consider doing research together as a family to determine who to support if looking beyond New Mexico.
For fabric supplies, contact Anna Rutins. A helpful tip: elastic headbands purchased at drugstores, folded fabric into strips, and t-shirt material are being used when elastic from craftstore isn’t available
Create handmade cards for The Storehouse, the largest food pantry on Albuquerque’s eastside and long-time Bosque School partner:
The Storehouse operations have been modified for drive-through pick-ups and remote deliveries, which are reaching 600+ families per week. They are including a spark of joy to each food box by adding a colorful card with an uplifting message such as: 1) Someone in Albuquerque is thinking about you, or 2) This card contains sunshine, good health, and love for you.
Mail your set of cards to:
The Storehouse / Swarupa Watlington
106 Broadway SE, ABQ, NM 87012
Attn: Project Bosque
Note: The Storehouse is not maintaining regular business hours; do not leave anything at their facility. Contact Ms. Rutins to arrange drop-off of cleaners and cards as well as for any further information.
Students, take pictures of yourself and your family members making cards, loading supplies, etc., and send them to Ms. Rutins (firstname.lastname@example.org) for sharing with The Storehouse.
Donate items to Crossroads for Women, a community partner who has worked closely with Womxn’s Advocacy Coalition (WAC) upper school service learning group:
Crossroads is seeking specific items such as cleaners, hygiene products, baby diapers, tech items, and non perishable foods for donation to their community members. Please visit their website for further information including instructions for drop-off.
Clean closets, clear the garage, sort gently-used and new items for donation to your favorite non-profit, or contact Ms. Rutins to determine where there is greatest need within Bosque School’s circle of community partners. This option might require short-term storage before actual delivery.
Reach out to your elderly neighbors and others who are at-risk to help with yardwork, walking dogs, baking a cake or making and delivering frozen meals, and other acts of kindness that don’t require close physical interaction. If you don’t know how to reach them, leave a note on their door or in their mailbox. Be sure to use best COVID-19 hygiene practices if passing a dog leash through the door, etc. Students, be sure to discuss these ideas with your parents or caregivers before taking action.
Write letters to troops stationed around the world: You can find a number of great options for this remote service activity here.
Assist people who are visually impaired in real time:
Use a free app called Be My Eyes that connects with people who are blind and low-vision with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.
Prepare Dignity Bags for long-time service-learning partner, Catholic Charities of New Mexico. Dignity Bags will be distributed to community members who are experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations.
Each Dignity Back (Gallon size ziplock bag) should contain the following travel sizeitems:
Bar soap and/or body wash (2)
* Please be sure your hands are washed and sanitized when creating the dignity bags. Also, each toiletry item needs to be sanitized as well.
Dignity Bag drop off can be scheduled with Call Kathy Freeze, Director of Center for Community Engagement, at 358-5194 for any assistance.
Virtual volunteering is a convenient way to help a great cause and particularly relevant during this time of COVID-19. You don’t have to work at a partner’s site to make a positive impact. You don’t even have to commit a lot of time. Non-profit organizations often work with few staff and small budgets. It makes a big difference when volunteers step in to help. Here are some ideas for students and families to support local and national service initiatives from home: