Nonprofits struggle with lack of volunteers - FOX34 Lubbock

Nonprofits struggle with lack of volunteers

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The new South Plains Food Bank locations on MLK Blvd. The new South Plains Food Bank locations on MLK Blvd.
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Some nonprofits in our area are struggling with a lack of volunteers.

At the South Plains Food Bank, staff are getting used to their new normal.

Vanessa Morelion, communications manager of the South Plains Food Bank, said before the pandemic, the bank was averaging about 40 volunteers a day. Now, they are getting two or three.

"Our volunteers are like another 50 employees to us. It helps us out a lot," Morelion said. "If we didn't have our volunteers, we wouldn't be able to produce as many boxes as we can."

The staff is stuck between a rock and a hard place, she said, needing that extra help while still trying to keep clients and staff safe. Morelion said they are currently looking for 30 "dedicated" volunteers who will come on a consistent basis.

"They have to stick with our schedule that we have. So, it's Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we want it to be the same people, that way we limit the exposure to our staff as well as our clients, " she said, "And it takes the time off of retraining volunteers on what they need to do."

The food bank has made multiple modifications to reduce the risk of infection for staff and clients, including limiting all person to person interaction, limiting access to food bank facilities outside of the warehouse and screening volunteers before they enter the warehouse.

Despite this challenging time, Sharon Bass, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Lubbock, said multiple grassroots groups have stepped up to meet needs throughout the city, including making face masks and getting meals to families.

"It's a group of people. They're not a nonprofit organization. It's just a group of folks that saw this need and wanted to do something," Bass said.

The volunteer center can help connect anyone who wants to serve with these groups, Bass said. There are still ways to volunteer while maintaining a safe distance, such as virtual opportunities and donating.

"Everybody's income has dropped. Every non-profit I know, people are having to lay folks off, people are having really big challenges, so if you have $5, $10 or any amount that you can share, that's a huge help," Bass said.

To find volunteer opportunities throughout Lubbock, click here. To learn more about volunteering with the South Plains Food Bank, email Meagan Bratton, director of development, at mbratton@spfb.org.

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