HARTFORD, CT) – Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and a large number of state officials and nonprofit providers are urging Connecticut residents to consider taking on a volunteer role in their communities to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis. While the state already began a campaign seeking out volunteers who have health care experience, today the state is launching a campaign seeking volunteers from the general public who are needed for other services at many different types of providers, such as food banks, deliveries to the elderly, shelters, and more.
The governor stressed that the COVID-19 outbreak is having a wide-ranging impact, and that means a large amount of skill sets are required to ensure that every community in Connecticut has the resources they need to combat this pandemic.
“During times like this, it is critical that we come together as a community – as a family – and support our neighbors in this response effort,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut residents and businesses have been incredibly generous in offering to do what they can to meet the needs of our state at this challenging time. Our frontline providers at food banks, meal delivery services, and shelters need extra help right now, and that is why we are asking for more volunteers to step forward. I am grateful to everyone who has already pitched in to support Connecticut families. The way we’ll get through this public health emergency is by working together.”
Volunteers from the general public will be matched with a community provider in need. Here are the basics:
- Volunteers must be 18 or older, and should not volunteer if at risk or compromised. Those who are immunocompromised, over 60, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or live with or care for someone in any of those categories should avoid being in public, including for volunteer efforts. Please stay safe, stay home.
- Volunteers do not need to be health care workers. In addition to calling on physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who may be retired, the state needs community members to help out at food banks, food deliveries to the elderly, and at shelters in a number of ways.
- For those who do have a background in health care, the state’s medical community has specific needs at this time. Hospitals have advised the state that they have a high need for critical care nurses and repository therapists.
- Every effort is being made to keep volunteers safe. The state and all of the organizations involved are working hard to make sure that everyone helping out can do so as safely as possible. If any volunteers have concerns, they are strongly urged to ask about the safety protocols of the organization they are volunteering.
- Volunteers will be sent where they are most needed and feel most comfortable. The volunteer process is centralized so that the state and participating organizations have a clear picture of everyone who can help, and everything that is needed. That way, volunteers can be matched with an opportunity that is most in need of that person’s skillset.
The Lamont administration and the State of Connecticut are grateful to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), which has made the Disaster Assistance Response Technology database available to help manage the statewide volunteer effort for this emergency, as well as the Connecticut VOAD chapter for their support.
Anyone interested in volunteering should register at ct.gov/coronavirus
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities, and they have never been more important than right now. I am grateful to every resident of Connecticut who is willing to come forward and help meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents during this time.”
Department of Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell said, “Volunteers with a medical background are critical to increase the capacity of the healthcare system at this important time. We’ve had a terrific response so far – but we still need more volunteers to mount our state’s best response to this emergency, especially those with experience as critical care nurses and respiratory therapists.”
Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, said, “The providers and staff at Connecticut’s hospitals are working around the clock to provide the best care possible for an increasing number of COVID-19 positive patients. We are thankful for the outpouring of support thus far and are buoyed by the fact that our neighbors across the state are generously donating their time and talent.”
Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford said, “We are seeing a significant increase in demand for basic services, like food and shelter, at a time when some regular volunteers cannot maintain their regular roles. On behalf of the nonprofit providers on those frontlines, we are grateful to every citizen who can volunteer now to help.”
Gian-Carl Casa, CEO of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, said, “On behalf of Connecticut’s frontline nonprofit service providers working to meet the critical needs of our vulnerable residents, we are grateful to Governor Lamont for this launching this effort to reinforce the volunteer ranks.”
Those interested in volunteering should visit ct.gov/coronavirus for information on how to register.