Leadership Jackson County project team connects people to volunteer opportunities


No matter what area you’re interested in, there are volunteer opportunities available locally.

Nearly 30 areas, from children and youth to hunger to seniors, can be selected on the volunteermatch.org website.

The Leadership Jackson County community awareness/growth project team of Ashley Caceres, Derek Green, Brianne Miller and Susan Tormoehlen found out through Jackson County United Way that the website is underutilized locally, so they decided to change that.

The purpose of the site is to bridge the gap between volunteers and organizations by allowing organizations to post volunteer opportunities for people to select.

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"One of the things we have learned through all of the people that we’ve met, all of the organizations that we have encountered through our time in Leadership is everybody everywhere said they were in need of volunteers," Tormoehlen said.

"We have an amazing community, a community full of people who love to give back and make their community a better place," she said. "We have so much opportunity to volunteer. There are so many organizations that are in need, and there are so many people that just want to get involved."

A lot of times, though, Tormoehlen said people don’t know how to get involved. Volunteermatch.org is the tool to use.

Green said the website offers a free account to post volunteer opportunities and a paid subscription to receive additional benefits.

The project team had planned to meet with nearly 20 local organizations to educate them on the website and show how it works, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that from happening.

Green said they narrowed the scope to 10 organizations, and Caceres sent them an email with a PowerPoint giving step-by-step directions of signing up on the website.

"What we found after we went through all of this with the organizations, we actually had some sign up," Green said. "It was cool because before we sent this out, we actually got on Volunteer Match and we didn’t have any that we could really find in Jackson County, and after we sent this out, there were five of our 10 organizations on there."

Miller said some people may think organizations don’t need volunteers during the pandemic, but they are actually needed more than ever.

"Right now with everyone turning to Facebook and eLearning and Zoom meetings, everything is more virtual now, so that makes volunteermatch.org make sense," she said.

Tormoehlen volunteers with The Alley in Seymour, which offers daily meals and other resources at First Baptist Church in Seymour. People can help with preparing and serving food, doing dishes, offering encouragement to people who come there or sitting down and eating a meal with them.

During the pandemic, she said the number of meals skyrocketed to more than 300 a day, and for a while, they had to be delivered.

"That is a lot of people that need food, that is a lot of material that needs to be handled, that is a lot of places that need to be hit to give that food out because nobody could come and sit down and have a meal. It all had to be delivered out," Tormoehlen said. "Our community came together and did amazing things to make sure that others in our community were able to eat every day."

That need still needs to be met because as the pandemic continues, more people need food, she said.

Volunteermatch.org includes many other local organizations that need help, and others are invited to include their volunteer opportunities.

"Our goal is that this will become more popular for Jackson County to connect those in need of volunteers with the people that they need," Miller said. "We want each and every one of you to visit volunteermatch.org to see what Jackson County is in need of and how you can make a difference in your community. Let’s volunteer, Jackson County."

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