Tag Archives: coronavirus

Survey shows volunteers want to help, but are concerned about exposure to COVID-19

In June, Hands On Nashville invited community members to take a survey gauging their thoughts and attitudes toward volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope was to get a clearer picture of how volunteers felt about weighing the risks of volunteering against the expanding needs in our community, so that we can work with our nonprofit partners to carve out safe and impactful ways volunteers can help Nashville get through this tough time.

Thank you to everyone who took the survey and shared their thoughts with us! 

The survey was completed by 223 individuals, the majority of whom identify as having volunteered through HON before.

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Respondents indicate an increased desire to volunteer in part because of events including the March 3 tornado. However, more than half of respondents also report worrying that volunteering will increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Respondents also report that they don’t necessarily have more time to volunteer now than they did earlier in the year, before the tornado and pandemic hit. A solid majority indicated they would volunteer more once the pandemic was over.

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We asked respondents to evaluate a handful of volunteer scenarios and and gauge their comfort levels with each. Overall they reported greater comfort levels with outdoor projects and projects capped at 10 people. Their comfort levels fell the larger the project attendance grew. Respondents also report feeling much more comfortable volunteering at a project where all the other volunteers are known, as opposed to volunteering with a group of strangers. (To create a volunteer team that can sign up for projects together, click here.)

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We asked respondents to share any additional thoughts they had on volunteering during the pandemic, and several respondents replied that they are in a high-risk category — either through their age, their baseline health status, or both — and do not feel comfortable volunteering. A good portion of Nashville’s volunteer base is retirement age, so we anticipate this consideration is having a substantial impact on the number of overall volunteers serving at this time. Some respondents also replied that they are a caretaker for someone in a high-risk category, and do not want to expose themselves for fear of transmitting the virus to the high-risk person in their care.

Several respondents also commented about how they would prefer to volunteer remotely — from home or delivering things in their car — during this time. (To see a roundup of virtual volunteer projects, click here.)

Some other comments:

I’m more than willing to volunteer as long as I am protected and those around me are as well. If proper guidelines are being followed and there aren’t a mass of people on top of each other, I would also feel comfortable.

I would absolutely love to help, but until the pandemic is over, I am extremely uncomfortable participating in any volunteering event where I’d be in close proximity to anyone else, especially if they aren’t required to wear a mask at all times.

I, like many, am unsure of what to do. Really want to volunteer, but unsure if bringing myself into a scenario will put others at risk. Also, unsure if I will need to limit my exposure to my workplace or to family, etc. as a result.

There is no question that fear of COVID-19 is limiting my willingness to volunteer these days though I have made some food deliveries and done a few solo clean-up projects.

I am reluctant to be around individuals I do not know. I am learning more and more that many people are being quite cavalier about their exposure to COVID-19.

I have less time with kids home and a son with a mild heart condition. So, I can possibly do things out of my house or where I can run around in my car (with some of my kids possibly). My kids would like to help as well, just worry about Covid right now.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates for volunteers and public gatherings

UPDATE 10:46 p.m. Friday, July 3

Nashville transitioned back to a modified version of Phase Two today. Information about the specifics of the modified phase guidelines can be found here. Guidelines for group sizes remain largely the same — gatherings are capped at 25 people — but we encourage volunteers to wear masks, practice proper social distancing, be vigilant about hand washing, and conduct as much business outdoors as possible.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m. Friday, June 26

As the city of Nashville moves into Phase Three of Mayor Cooper’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville, guidelines for volunteering and group size remain largely unchanged from Phase Two. 

We’ve added a COVID-19 section to our website at hon.org/covid19. There you will find the latest updates about volunteering, and opportunities to support disaster relief during this time.

UPDATE 3:47 p.m. Wednesday, June 10

Volunteer project guidelines and parameters are evolving as our city continues to move through the phases of reopening. Here are some things to know about volunteering during Phase Two of Mayor Cooper’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville:

  • A wider variety of projects is available on hon.org, including park cleanups, community garden prep, and more. Check out our calendar to see what’s coming up.
  • The attendance cap on projects has been raised from 10 volunteers to 25, and we have asked our partners to only recruit for the number of volunteers they can accommodate while still heeding social distancing guidelines.
  • Our partner agencies are working to ensure that projects are safe for volunteers, staff, and the community. We have added a question regarding safety to the feedback survey we send out after every project, so if volunteers feel unsafe we can address those concerns on a project by project basis.
Thank you, volunteers, for all you’re doing to help meet needs in our community!
  

UPDATE 12:27 p.m. Tuesday, April 7

Volunteer Tennessee has issued helpful guidelines for those wanting to volunteer safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read and download them here.

UPDATE 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

The situation regarding COVID-19 precautions and how they affect tornado relief efforts is changing rapidly. HON continues to work with OEM and city health officials to evolve our disaster response efforts in real time.

Some measures we are taking to help keep community members safe:

— We are asking our partners to post only volunteer projects that pertain to meeting urgent needs in the community, which we are defining as food and shelter. We are collaborating with our partners and others in the community who are doing this work to identify how volunteers can best support them and be safe at this time, and will provide updates as we have actionable information that meets safety guidelines.

We are urging our partners to limit group sizes at projects to 10 people for the next 15 days, at which point we will evaluate whether this time period needs to be extended.

— We are continuing to ask volunteers who feel unwell to rest at home rather than attend projects.

— We encourage volunteers to use their own discretion when deciding whether to attend a volunteer project.

— We are working on identifying ways volunteers can help our partners remotely during this time.

UPDATE 7:06 p.m. Thursday, March 12

HON is working closely with OEM and the city as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As a result of the health department’s recommendations, we’re looking at a number of adjustments heading toward the weekend:

—  limiting the maximum number of volunteers at projects to 50

— stocking projects with hand sanitizer

— requesting that volunteers who feel like they’re getting sick rest at home instead of coming to projects

Please make sure you read the information at this link and continue to heed best practices regarding limiting contact with others, washing hands, etc.

Volunteers who feel unsure about exposure risk and would rather not chance it should feel free to go to their hon.org accounts and remove themselves from projects.

HON will continue to provide updates and evolve plans as needed in collaboration with the city of Nashville, OEM, and the health department.

Original post on Wednesday 3/11 at 12:25 p.m.:

As concerns grow about the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and the Nashville Public Health Department have shared following information and resources:

Basics that are always best practice:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly (at least 20 seconds, with soap)
  • Don’t touch your face, especially with unwashed hands
  • Minimize hand-to-hand contact with others

Additional information:

A letter from our CEO regarding confirmed COVID-19 case

We received news today that a volunteer who served at Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church has been diagnosed with COVID-19; they volunteered there on several occasions during the initial tornado relief response and were last there Saturday, March 14.

Since COVID-19 can be spread from contact with contaminated surfaces, as well as person-to person, we are notifying all Hands On Nashville volunteers who registered to participate at Greater Heights from March 5, when they opened for tornado relief, to present. The church is ceasing volunteer activities at this time and will remain closed to volunteers for two weeks.

Please continue to closely monitor how you’re feeling and reach out to your medical provider with any concerns. The health and safety of our volunteers, community partners, and neighbors-in-need remains our priority as always, and most especially, during this difficult season.

With much gratitude,
Lori Shinton
Hands On Nashville President & CEO

COVID-19 Update: Staying Safer at Home

We’re writing to share some information regarding Mayor Cooper’s Safer at Home order from Sunday, March 22.

This order asks us to stay inside our homes and immediately limit outside interaction to essential activities only. (Think groceries, prescription refills, picking up take-out, and walking the dog.) On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.

This will further impact volunteer projects, so you may hear from us about additional cancellations and rescheduling.

Here’s the link to the full order and some information you need to know:

If you have lost your job or income due to layoffs associated with the COVID-19 crisis, you can find updated information about local job openings and opportunities here.

YOU CAN … 

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

YOU SHOULD NOT … 

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

For more information, please see the frequently-asked questions on the City of Nashville’s COVID-19 Response page

A letter from our CEO regarding unconfirmed COVID-19 case

In the spirit of being a good neighbor and out of an abundance of caution, we want to share some information we received about a volunteer who participated in recent tornado relief efforts.

We learned yesterday evening that an individual who served at the Hands On Nashville office, Community Resource Center, and at Shelby Bottoms between March 6 and March 13 is experiencing mild symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 15. This person has been in contact with their medical provider, who declined to recommend them for further testing. As a precaution, the individual is self-isolating for 14 days per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control.

Although this is not a confirmed case of COVID-19, we have a few things we’d like to share:

  • Volunteers are welcomeSince last Friday, we put extra precautions in place that allow you to take care of yourself while you’re helping take care of others. Upon hearing from the individual, we took additional steps to disinfect the buildings thoroughly and reach out to those who may have been in the same space as the person experiencing the symptoms.

Service is a key part of what will keep our community strong during this moment when many of our neighbors are faced with especially difficult challenges. With that top of mind, we will actively continue updating our policies in alignment with the best practices provided by the CDC and our local health officials. We need and we appreciate your continued support.

Lori Shinton
Hands On Nashville President & CEO

Hands On Nashville will postpone 10,000 for 10

In mid-2019, Hands On Nashville recognized that an important time was approaching for our city — the 10-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 flood. To commemorate Nashville’s spirit of service then and to look forward to how we could prepare for future disasters, we began planning 10,000 for 10 — a call to action for volunteerism and the kickoff for establishing the Hands On Nashville Disaster Activation Fund.

No one could have predicted what would happen the night of March 2, or the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our community. What we could have predicted is the incredible outpouring of love and support in the form of 26,000-plus volunteers who stepped up to help their neighbors in the aftermath.

While the purpose behind 10,000 for 10 feels more urgent than ever, we recognize the need to pause our events — the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, Hands On Nashville Day, and the HON Day Afterparty  in alignment with Centers for Disease Control recommendations to postpone large-scale gatherings.

We are working on identifying a reschedule date for later this year, and will share information as soon as it is available. If your agency was planning a HON Day project, you had purchased a ticket to the Strobel Awards, or you had signed up to be a volunteer or volunteer leader on HON Day, please know that we will be in touch once we have updated information about the rescheduled events.

It is clearer than ever that HON must be prepared to pivot quickly to meet challenges big, small, and difficult to predict. We’re honored to have your support on that journey.