Disaster Volunteerism

COVID-19 Response

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The State of Illinois and its community partners are working to ensure the health of our citizens. To do that, we need your help. The spirit of volunteerism and community service are alive and well during COVID-19. Those that are considering volunteering have options, both in-person options as well as virtual efforts.

Keeping Volunteers Safe and Healthy

Preparedness for Volunteers: If you are feeling sick, or displaying any symptoms of illness, please stay home. Volunteers can get the job done, but we need you to be healthy and operating at 100% to make that happen! Please do not put yourself or anyone else at risk by coming to volunteer when sick. If you are displaying signs of illness while you volunteer, you will be asked by the group you are volunteering with to return home.

Preparedness for Organizations: Organizations that are accepting volunteers is to ensure that groups are limited to 10 people per group setting with appropriate social distancing safeguards. Additional restrictions such as limiting volunteers to best protect vulnerable populations may be appropriate. All volunteers should be screened prior to beginning work (see template screening tool). If someone has a fever, cough, or other symptoms, they should be sent home. All volunteers should wash hands regularly and all areas of the service site should be properly disinfected at each shift change.
Click here for a sample volunteer health screen sheet [PDF, 112KB].

How to volunteer

The State of Illinois does not endorse or recommend any particular volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are needed to help several civic and faith-based organizations, especially those organizations that focus on homelessness, meal delivery and senior citizens. This is simply a clearinghouse for what is known to us. If your organization and its volunteer opportunity would like to be listed, please submit a request at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ILVolRequest

Volunteer In Person

Below is a listing of local volunteer opportunities. If you do not see an opportunity in your area, visit one of these organizations.

Volunteer Needs

  • Donate blood: The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe shortage of blood donations. Additional health screenings, sanitation measures and social distancing guidelines have been implemented to ensure donor and staff safety. Learn more about where to donate.

  • Aging Network: Due to the suspension of group services and increased one-on-one in-home services that are being provided by the Aging Network, we are in need of more volunteers. Specifically, the Area Agencies on Aging need assistance in the form of non face-to-face contact with our older adults; including the delivery of meals and telephone reassurance programs. Both programs provide relief and assistance to our older adults who are practicing social distancing, but who are also at risk of being socially isolated. No experience is necessary for volunteers. Below is a list of known needs. If you don't see your county listed, your local Area Agencies on Aging will provide you with instructions and stands ready to accept your help! We encourage anyone to volunteer by looking up your local Area Agency on Aging by county, emailing aging.ilsenior@illinois.gov, or calling our Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966.
    • Boone: Meals on Wheels, grocery delivery, and prescription delivery drivers needed. Email Jeffery Barnes or call 777-221-3702.
    • Coles: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • DeKalb: Meal packing and home delivery volunteers needed. Email Jeffery Barnes or call 777-221-3702.
    • Dewitt: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • DuPage: Telephone reassurance and grocery shopper volunteers needed. Email Alaine Kvedaras or call 630-293-5990 x 105.
    • Edger: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • Kendall: Meal delivery and telephone reassurance volunteers needed. Email Alaine Kvedaras or call 630-293-5990 x 105.
    • Lake: Telephone reassurance and grocery shopper volunteers needed. Email Alaine Kvedaras or call 630-293-5990 x 105.
    • LaSalle: Meal delivery and packing volunteers needed. Email Jacob Irish or call 309-644-0044.
    • Livingston: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • Mercer: SHIP/Medicaid volunteers needed. Email Jacob Irish or call 309-644-0044.
    • McDonough: Meal delivery drivers needed. Email Jacob Irish or call 309-644-0044.
    • McHenry: Drivers for medical appointments needed. Email Alaine Kvedaras or call 630-293-5990 x 105.
    • Moultrie: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • Peoria County: Home delivery meal drivers needed. Email Area Agency on Aging PSA 4 or call 309-674-2071.
    • Rock Island County: Volunteers need to distribute food pantry boxes. Email Jacob Irish or call 309-644-0044.
    • Shelby: Delivery drivers needed. Email Amber Johnson or call 309-829-2065 x 201.
    • Will: Package delivery volunteers needed. Email Alaine Kvedaras or call 630-293-5990 x 105.
    • Winnebago: Kitchen and delivery driver volunteers needed. Email Jeffery Barnes or call 777-221-3702.

  • American Red Cross - Statewide: The Red Cross needs volunteers to help ensure that blood donors have a pleasant and safe experience at blood drives in every community and county. Blood Donor Ambassadors welcome donors, help with check-in, and offer refreshments. Enhanced safety protocols are in place and these volunteers serve a vital role. If you are healthy and want to get involved, please apply today at https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html .

  • Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal: We are in need of volunteers to help distribute "grab & go" lunches for area youth 18 years of age and under. We are also distributing food boxes to our families during this time. Email for more information.

  • Chester Area Christian Food Pantry: Volunteers are needed to help distribute food. Email here for more information.

  • Chicago COVID19 3D printing group: Looking for volunteers with 3D printers who are willing to 3D print face shields in cooperation with Swedish Covenant Hospital or volunteers to assemble face shields for the University of Chicago system. Click here to learn more.

  • Christian County Medical Reserve Corps—MRC: Volunteers will help with medical dispensing. A medical background is helpful but not necessary. For more information, call the Christian County Health Department at 217-824-4113.

  • Family Matters - Chicago: Last fall we tore down a garage to make a green space for the youth at Family Matters. We need help spreading top soil, planting grass, and spreading mulch. We also are looking for help putting in a fence after the soil is spread. Email for more information.

  • Giving DuPage: Today, nonprofit organizations are looking for extra help as many of their regular volunteers are unable to assist or are choosing to stay home and some need help with donation of items. In particular, organizations with a mission focused on housing/homelessness, food security/hunger/meal delivery and seniors are experiencing a large decrease in their regular volunteer base. For a list of organizations in need of support in DuPage County, click here.

  • Illinois Food Banks: The Feeding Illinois Network is need of volunteers and monetary donations. Contact your local food bank for more information:

  • HandsOn Suburban Chicago: Today, nonprofit organizations are facing additional challenges in light of the current coronavirus crisis. In support of our Community Partners, HandsOn Suburban Chicago is providing this list of needs. We will be adding to and updating as more information is received. If you have questions about these specific volunteer needs, please contact the agency directly. Click here for more information on how to volunteer.

  • Heat of Illinois United Way - Peoria and Central Illinois: We are working with our network of nonprofit organizations to offer a variety of volunteer needs at: https://volunteer.hoiunitedway.org/need/?need_id=508855&need_init_id=3017

  • Help 4 Frontline - Chicago Area (North shore Suburbs) Cook and Lake Counties: We are a local temporary volunteer organization on Chicago's North Shore creating PPE with a small (and growing) army of 3D printers, friends with sewing machines, and people that 'get things done'. We are also redistributing any existing PPE that we may collect, using local networks across our communities. Click here for more information.

  • Housing Forward - Oak Park: We need breakfast, lunch and dinner delivered to homeless clients Monday-Sunday. Visit www.housingforward.org for more information.

  • Imamia Medics International - Chicago Chapter: Is looking for volunteers to deliver food to the elderly and needy. Email Email Zehra Jafferi for more information.

  • Islamic Foundation of Villa Park - DuPage County: The Islamic Foundation of Villa Park has developed a service for free delivery of groceries and medicine to the elderly and those unable to leave home. We are working to help limit the exposure of high-risk individuals by delivering groceries and medicine to their homes so there is not a need for them to leave. Call 630-530-6302 for more information.

  • Lincoln Park Community Services - Chicago: We need volunteer groups to provide meals for 30-35 people that stay at our shelter! There are several ways that this can be done.
    • Prepare a meal at home and drop it off at our facility
    • Assemble sack lunches with items like a sandwich/wrap, sides (a piece of fruit, a bag of chips, etc.) and a beverage (preferably bottled water) to drop off at our facility
    • Order a meal from a local restaurant to be delivered to our facility
    Learn more at lpcschicago.org/get-involved/.

  • Literacy Works - Chicago: We are looking for volunteers to become tutors in our adult literacy programs. Literacy Works partners with over 30 adult literacy organizations throughout Chicago and the Western suburbs. We will provide all the training necessary to prepare you to work with your learner once it's safe to do so. No teaching or tutoring experience necessary! Visit www.litworks.org for more information.

  • Marillac St. Vincent Family Services - Chicago: Pre-pack food boxes every day M-Sat--am/pm shifts available each day and assist with distribution of boxes to clients on M/F 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and Weds. 2:00-6:00 p.m. Click here to learn more.

  • Midwest Food Bank - Bloomington, Peoria, Morton: Volunteers need to be able to lift boxes for building family food boxes or palletizing distribution orders that will go to our partner food pantries. Learn more at https://www.midwestfoodbank.org/illinois.

  • New Hope Community Food Pantry (Chicago): We expect that our client needs may grow in the upcoming weeks due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on individuals and families. We welcome any donations or volunteering support during this heightened need. To donate, click here. To volunteer, click here.

  • Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI): Volunteer lawyers are needed to answer civil legal questions from low-income Illinoisans through a secure website. Volunteer lawyers log onto the site at their convenience and answer questions waiting in the queue. It is a virtual walk-in legal clinic. Like typical legal aid, we see a lot of family law, consumer and housing questions on the site, but with the pandemic, we expect to more questions about employment, benefits and other areas of increased concern. You are able to choose the questions you answer, both in terms of the legal issue and the location of the person answering the question. To volunteer, click here.

  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Rho Gamma Gamma Chapter - Chicago: Volunteers are needed to help needy families with a lack of resources. Email for more information.

  • Safe Families for Children - Chicago area, Springfield, Peoria, Quincy, Rockford: Train to be a host or family friend (providing respite or transportation). Serving families in crisis by providing housing for children while the parent(s) get the services they need (medical, housing, job) while host families keep the children from neglect or abuse. Learn more at safe-families.org.

  • Sanctuary Counseling LLC (telehealth): The Corona Virus and the financial sector have left many people's lives in stress and turmoil. We are offering free telehealth counseling sessions during this time. Spanish speaking volunteers with experience and credentialing is highly encouraged to apply. Click here for more information.

  • Senior Home Sharing, which serves senior citizens, needs help with grocery store trips, pharmacy pickups and meal donations. To volunteer, contact Courtney Simek, executive director, at csimek@seniorhomesharing.org or call 630-201-7080.

  • Senior Services Associates - Southern Kane and Kendall Counties: The volunteer programs at Senior Services Associates, provides opportunities for people to make a difference in the Southern Kane and Kendall county communities through volunteer service. Feel the satisfaction that comes from doing something good and support someone in need. Your efforts will make a difference to someone right here in Kendall and Southern Kane Counties.
    To request the background and volunteer enrollment forms, contact: Deborah Lee Sheppard, RSVP Coordinator.

  • St Cyprian Food Pantry - Chicago: Under 65 years of age volunteers needed to help pass out food Monday and Thursday 9:00 to 11:45 am. Visit stcyprianefp.org to learn more.

  • The DuPage Senior Citizens Council is looking for volunteers to help deliver meals to seniors in the county. To volunteer, call Cathy Jordan, volunteer services director, at 630-746-0909.

  • The Volunteer Center - NE Metro Chicago: The Volunteer Center (VC) helps residents and service groups of all ages and abilities in the New Trier Township, the North Shore and greater NE Metro Chicago area find volunteer opportunities or participate in Days of Service with 501C3 nonprofit partner organizations. Learn more at www.volunteercenterhelps.org.

  • United Way of Decatur and Macon County: We have some immediate volunteer needs in its community. If you are healthy and not high-risk, please consider helping these organizations:
    • Northeast Community Fund - UPDATE: volunteers needed every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9a-2p
    • Good Samaritan Inn - 4-6 volunteers needed to pack food boxes each day 9-11a, 11a-1p. Email director@goodsamaritaninn.org.

  • United Way of Greater St. Louis: United Way's Volunteer Center is leading the efforts to refer volunteers to support community partners in the nine Illinois and six Missouri counties we serve with their COVID-19 response efforts. Click here to learn more.

  • Volunteer Center McHenry County: Every day www.volunteercentermchenrycounty.org has 150 to 250 volunteer and donation needs posted by local agencies. Visit today!

  • YouthHope - Moline: Volunteers are needed to help pack bags and hand out food to families in need. Visit www.cfyouthhope.org for more information.

Volunteer from home

There are important ways to care for your community right from your own home and neighborhood.

Donate. The long-term impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit sector has the potential to be severe. Your support of front-line organizations caring for vulnerable populations is urgently needed now, while donations are also needed in the long-term to all social impact organizations to weather the long-term consequences of this crisis and our collective recovery.

Donate to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund: The United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, are establishing the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds from individual, corporate, and foundation donors to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to donate.

Check in on your neighbors through call or text: As more and more people experience isolation, we encourage you to call and check in on your neighbors, especially those who may not have support networks or adequate resources. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed right now but building connections and empathy can go a long way in reducing stress. Calling and texting is a good example of responsible social distancing. “CAP” is a great way to remember your neighbors:

C – Check on your neighbors (through call or text)
A – Assess needs and assist when possible
P – Protect self and neighbors by adhering to social distancing guidelines

Connect with your children: In times of crisis, it’s common for youth to be curious and seek more attachment from parents, guardians, and caregivers. Answer their questions about COVID-19 with honest and age-appropriate information to ease their anxiety.

The Serve Illinois Commission is the state's lead agency under the Illinois Emergency Operations Plan (IEOP) for volunteers and donations in times of disaster.  

Check back as this page is continually updated when volunteerism opportunities present themselves.