I recently met a volunteer who took off of work, taking precautionary measures due to the pandemic. She was browsing on Choose901 when she came across a voter registration drive happening at Memphis Rox. Deciding that this cause was worth leaving the house for, she chose to take action which led her to connect with other organizations who voter registration initiatives like St. Patrick Voter Registration—which is part of the Continue The Dream Voter and Volunteer Alliance 2020. She’s continued to step into this role and contribute to the mission of making voter registration accessible to everyone, and all it took was that first step.
Often, volunteering can feel overwhelming, even without being in the midst of a pandemic. It can seem intimidating because it often feels like you’re about to go at it alone—but the good news is, you are not on your own! There are thousands of Memphians who volunteer every year, and, in fact, dozens volunteering as you read this right now.
At Volunteer Odyssey, we challenge you (and ourselves) to take that first step—however that may be. You might turn out like the volunteer above- who is registering folks around the city. Maybe you’ll be like the people who spend their time lending a hand to beautify our public spaces.
With each volunteer opportunity comes a chance for all of us to show up for our city. Every food drive, mentorship session, neighborhood clean-up, etc. presents a step towards a more just Memphis. Every step counts, and, together, we are walking into a future of lasting change.
Here are some ways to take that first step to enriching our lives and communities:
- Catholic Charities of West TN serves neighbors daily, through their homeless outreach program and mobile food pantry. You can volunteer with them Monday through Friday, distributing clothes and hygiene products to vulnerable neighbors or handing out food boxes to our friends in need. Click here for a full list of opportunities.
- Memphis Tilth is on a mission to cultivate collective action for an economically sustainable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound local food system. You can join in their work at the St. Paul Garden as you help clean up, plant, and tend to the grounds. This is a wonderful opportunity to practice a hobby you love or learn a new skill as you help the community have access to healthy foods. Volunteers are required to attend a virtual 30-minute orientation to learn about their history, mission, and volunteer opportunities. See shifts and sign up here!
- Brooks Museum of Art + Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group are putting on the 4th annual Dia de los Muertos Parade–this year with a new twist! This reverse parade will allow spectators to drive through the campus viewing the performers, dancers, and musicians. Volunteers are needed to make this novel event run smoothly! Save the date, sign up for your shift, and support their mission of preserving the cultural heritage of Dia de los Muertos, and strengthening the cultural identity of Memphis’ Latino community. Register here!
- The Memphis Botanic Garden maintains beautiful grounds, expansive gardens, and excellent education programs year round—and you can help them keep those efforts going! Whether you are an experienced gardener or simply enjoy spending time outside, they have a spot for you. There are several opportunities to give back in the garden, with experiences like their monthly weed wrangle, their herbal work study, or their garden parties. For a full list of garden goings, click here!