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Do's and Don'ts for Effective Volunteering

Greetings from the Broadmoor Improvement Association, where we have seen an unprecedented increase in the needs of our community over the last two months. Before the arrival of COVID-19, the Broadmoor Food Pantry distributed groceries to fewer than 100 families a week on average. Now, we serve nearly 250 each week and have created a meal distribution site that provides more than 350 hot meals to vulnerable residents three times a week. Additionally, over 3,600 residents in our 70125 zip code have received a phone call to assess how the Broadmoor Improvement Association might be able to offer assistance, from remote case management, to counseling, to food insecurity.

As a grassroots agency, the BIA would never be able to meet this increased need without the hard work of its dedicated volunteers. A community-wide challenge like a global pandemic calls for community-centered care, and we have watched as our neighbors have stepped up to support one another in a time of shared hardship. With a spirit of humility and reciprocity, our Broadmoor volunteers have donated their time, energy, and gas money to deliver meals to homebound folks, unload and package groceries at the food pantry, and phone bank to check in with their neighbors. They have shown up consistently and every time, they show up with flexibility, checking their egos and judgment at the door. We have been humbled and endlessly grateful as we’ve worked alongside our neighbors, continuing Broadmoor’s long-standing legacy of community solidarity that has already allowed it to overcome so much.

As the needs of our neighborhood evolve, we will continue to rely upon the support of our neighbors. Are you thinking about volunteering? If so, we ask that you thoughtfully review these helpful best practices as you consider how to be in service of others.

Dos and Don'ts for Effective Volunteering

  • Do think about the level of personal risk you’re willing to assume.

  • Do show flexibility and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone.

  • Do be upfront about physical limitations or important personal boundaries.

  • Do show kindness and empathy to our neighbors for whom these services exist

  • Don’t show up if you don’t meet the requirements for safe volunteering, even if you really want to help.

  • Don’t push a personal agenda.

  • Don’t refuse a task simply because it wasn’t what you “signed up for.

  • Don’t pass judgement on who “looks like” they “deserve” support.

To our volunteers— We honor your commitment to community care. We pledge to do our part and work our hardest to keep you and your families safe by continuing to follow best practices in our health and safety procedures. We know that mutual aid is the cornerstone of sustainability, and we will continue this work as we strive toward a more equitable future together. Thank you sincerely. Let us continue to show up for one another in peace and solidarity.

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