Pandemic Service Opportunities - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Faith
March 8, 2021

Pandemic Service Opportunities

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers.

Growing up, I remember being a busy kid. There were messes to make, imaginary tea parties to have, and coloring books that weren’t going to color themselves. Despite these regularly attended engagements, there was always time to pencil Mr. Rogers into my schedule. Some days I would sit down with my bowl of cheerios and watch Mr. Rogers visit museums. Other times it was mid-day, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be my choice of refreshment while I binge watched Mr. Rogers playing in the sand box, feeding the fish, or talking to Trolly. One way or the other, I was a regular when it came to tuning into to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. However, at the age of eight I thought it was more important for me to figure out why Daniel Tiger lived in a clock rather than understanding the truly profound statements Mr. Rogers would make.

Like the above quote, Mr. Rogers would tell many other stories or analogies that encouraged children to understand deep problems and encourage them to do the right thing. In this particular quote, Mr. Rogers once again encourages people to be helpers, despite any “disaster.” At the one year anniversary of the onset of COVID-19, I think it is safe to say that the pandemic has been a pretty big disaster. As Mr. Rogers says, during these disastrous times, there is a need for helpers. But if you are a service-oriented person helping during a pandemic is not the easiest thing.

The truth is, in times of disaster, helping is most inconvenient to do, nevertheless most needed. Unfortunately, with all the additional social distancing restrictions and health code requirements, covid has made helping difficult, but not impossible. There are still numerous opportunities to serve other people during these strange times, sometimes it just requires us to be a bit more creative. If you are a service minded person keeping your eyes out for helping opportunities, then you need not look any further. Here are some good ways to start serving here and now!

#1 Soup Kitchens and Food Bank Operations:

While COVID-19 stunted the operations of many outreach services, the needs that they fulfill remain very real. This is especially the case for those who benefited from the soup kitchen and food bank operations. The good news is these services are once again up and running and very willing to accept volunteers. In Beaver Falls alone there is a Salvation Army that provides many different services and numerous churches that seek out volunteers for their soup kitchens. There are dozens of opportunities to help in food bank or soup kitchen operations, even if you do not have time to volunteer. These places not only accept willing hands, but they accept donations as well! 

#2 Take notes, Tutor, Help a friend!:        

Who said you need to drive a distance in order to help people? No one! Wherever you are at, there are always service opportunities right in front of you. If you are a college student and you are seeking ways to serve, the Student Success Center at Geneva has many different ways you can help your fellow classmates. One of these great service opportunities found in coordination with the Student Success Center is tutoring. Many students find specific subjects challenging and tutoring sessions can really help boost their understanding and overall grade in the class.

A second way to help your fellow classmates is taking notes. Due to various reasons, students request note takers in a class. If you are a good notetaker, you could very well help a person in need right in your classroom. Lastly, sometimes helping other students could simply mean assisting them with homework. Maybe you took the same class a semester earlier or maybe you’re in the class and you understand the concepts well. One way or the other, a fellow classmate who is struggling would really appreciate help from another student.

#3 Physical labor:

If physical labor isn’t your cup of tea then you can pass over this one... still here? Great! Believe it or not, there are many different opportunities to help that involves physical labor. First of all, along with the season that we all identify as winter, comes enormous amounts of snow. When a large amount of snowflakes compile they can make a big mess, leaving many people in a pickle if they can’t even get out of their driveway. Shoveling snow is definitely not for the faint of heart and many people have a hard time doing this task on their own. Whether a neighbor, friend, or relative, shoveling snow is a great act of service that is very much appreciated.

Another place that could use physical labor is churches, especially with extra sanitizing requirements due to covid. Cleaning pews, vacuuming, sanitizing, creating bulletins, helping with worship music, volunteering in Sunday school, are all great ways to serve others in your church.

#4 Writing Letters:

Feeding the soul is just as important as providing sustenance for the body. In this digital age, many people may think that the art of writing letters is lost, but it is not. There are many out there that are deeply encouraged and grateful to receive a birthday, get well, or just a thinking of you card. Throughout the past year, residence in elderly homes have been restricted from seeing friends and family due to social distancing. Sending even one card to a resident could mean a big difference. Even sending a card to a relative that you haven’t been able to see is a blessing. Taking the time to write out a thoughtful note shows the receiver that they are thought of and cared for. The impact is far greater than you would think.

#5 Conversations:

Would you believe me if I said one conversation could change someone’s life? While this is true, you may not be convinced. Daily human interaction is an essential part of life, even for the many introverts out there. However, through the hustle and bustle of daily life, I think we forget to stop and talk to people. Engaging in a conversation, truly listening to a person and allowing them to be heard can be an experience that really impacts someone. As humans, we have the opportunity to tear people down or build them up…that is powerful. During these times of social distancing and avoiding physical contact, people are left to themselves quite a bit. I think it is safe to say we all have experienced some lonely days while in quarantine over the past year. So talk to people! Ask questions! You never know how one conversation could impact a person.

The coronavirus pandemic threw everyone for a loop in March 2020. Stores closed, social gatherings vanished, and people were locked in their houses for months. Now in 2021, we have been truly blessed to experience a bit of normalcy once again. While things still are not completely back to the way they used to be, there are still service opportunities out there looking for willing hands.

Geneva College can help you find your calling to service for God and neighbor. Contact Admissions for more information at admissions@geneva.edu or 800-847-8255.

-Abby Forton ‘22

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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash