How to get service hours online

Amelia Foster, Print Managing Editor

With COVID-19 making in-person work difficult, community service hours have moved past being an annoying requirement for graduation and into the zone of actually being stressful. Luckily, there are a myriad ways to receive volunteer hours online that don’t require already being part of a club or community service organization.

Sewing masks

During the pandemic, sewing fabric masks is a viable way of giving back to the community and keeping people safe. Hope for Tampa is a local organization managing the donation of masks and all you’d have to do is make the mask and drop it off where directed. Here is a good resource for how to make masks, including all the supplies you’d need plus instructions for different kinds of masks, including those for Deaf and hard of hearing people.

Knitting blankets

In the same realm of sewing masks, knitting blanket squares to donate is a way to get service hours without ever leaving the comfort of your pajamas. You’d need yarn, knitting needles and a yarn needle, but those are all available on Amazon or at your local craft store. Warm Up America donates knitted squares to charities across the nation to make into blankets and lists the exact instructions on their website for how to make the squares.

Tutoring over Zoom

Zoom may be tiring, especially if you’re doing full eLearning, but lots of people still need tutoring. Contact your neighbors and find out if their kids need any help in subjects you’re good at, or sign up for a program like Teens Give and be paired with a student to tutor virtually. The minimum commitment is only an hour a week, and the schedule is flexible.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers

The Smithsonian Digital Volunteers project was started as a way to connect people with Smithsonian materials, and is accessible 24/7 from anywhere. Volunteers sign up and transcribe digital materials, ranging anywhere from field books of Irish naturalists to the diaries of suffragettes. There are different sections to browse for different interests, and is a unique way to volunteer.

Translators without Borders

If you speak a second language fluently, Translators without Borders is a great way to get service hours. It’s free and anyone can sign up, and you work on translating written documents on your own time. It’s compatible with the major search engines, and is a fun way to get hours.