National Volunteer Month may be coming to a close, but at NIB associated nonprofit agencies across the nation, serving the community is business as usual. During the COVID-19 pandemic, personnel in our associated agencies have moved beyond their usual duties to host virtual support groups and hotlines, organize drives for food and other essential supplies, and assist with transportation to serve both people who are blind and visually impaired and the larger community.
Examples of volunteerism can be found in every corner of our nationwide network. Lighthouse Central Florida, in Orlando, and IBVI, in Milwaukee, donated critical masks to local nonprofits and hospitals, while the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Utica, New York, organized a community collection of 50,000 cloth masks.
For those struggling with social distancing, which can be even more difficult for people who are blind, several associated agencies have been lending a virtual hand. Outlook Nebraska is operating a hotline and the Lighthouse for the Blind Fort Worth is hosting online support groups. In the Washington, D.C., area, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind offers virtual training to help clients plan essential routes and develop other independent living skills to help them cope.
For people who are blind relying on public transportation, access to food can be a challenge, especially in areas where bus schedules have been scaled back during the crisis. Arizona Industries for the Blind and San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind partnered with local food banks and meals on wheels to deliver food. Bosma Enterprises, in Indianapolis, worked with Gleaners Food Bank to prepare care packages for people with vision loss, many of whom are immune compromised due to other health conditions.
And in New York, one of the hardest hit states in the country, ABVI Goodwill of the Finger Lakes collaborated with local partners to deliver more than 7,300 meals and 1,400 bottles of hand sanitizer, and connect 9,200 people to other essential goods.
Since our country’s founding, Americans have come together in times of national emergency to serve their communities and country. NIB associated agency employees, like thousands of their fellow citizens, are stepping up to the plate during the COVID-19 pandemic to lend a hand. At NIB, we appreciate them and all those who have volunteered their time, money, and resources to help their neighbors in need. Not just during the month of April, but all year long, we applaud the vital support they provide to their communities.
To learn more about NIB’s network of associated nonprofit agencies and how you can help them as they help others, visit our agency locator.