Need for more volunteers increases throughout Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Free help, also known as volunteerism, is trying to make a comeback across the nation since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to a 2023 AmeriCorps survey, Nebraskans are volunteering 10% less than they were in 2019.

Local organizations are trying to fill in the gaps, but it’s a slower-moving process than some would like.

“We certainly have along with our partner non-profits around the city, seen a decrease in individuals who are able or willing to volunteer,” said Salvation Army Corps Officer Major Mark Anderson.

Anderson refers to volunteers as the army behind the army. He said at the corps of the Salvation Army’s mission are the volunteers who help carry out many of their programs.

“We certainly count on our volunteers to keep our program going, like this perishable giveaway that’s going on right behind us today.”

Anderson said a decrease in volunteers means staff has to work overtime and wear a lot of hats that volunteers normally fill.

“It takes many many volunteers to help the Salvation Army. Not only here but at Christmas time ringing the bell, after school programs, and getting involved in just a wide host of opportunities.”

Without volunteers, service suffers.

“A decrease in volunteers means we can’t process the food, process the help that we want as quickly as we’d been doing it, ” said Anderson.

Data shows the lack of volunteerism is likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic where it was recommended for people to avoid groups in an effort to control the spread of the virus.

Channel 8 also spoke with the Alzheimer’s Association which is facing the same decline in volunteerism. As they’ve returned to in-person work and events, they said they need more volunteers to help serve the community.

If you’d like to volunteer at the Salvation Army call 402-474-6263.

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