Happy Tuesday, y’all. Hope this week’s going well for you. This post might be a little late to the scene given all that’s going on. But I know here in Texas, positive coronavirus tests are increasing. Maybe this will be valid again. My point in this post is to give you more safe and creative nutrition volunteer opportunities during a pandemic compared to some that I posted last year in my post, “Volunteer Opportunities for Dietetics Students.”
Before I jump into the actual suggestions, please note that these are helpful ideas at the time I was writing them, but they may or may not be safe depending on when and where you’re at. Use your best judgment and take all necessary precautions when volunteering. As a future healthcare professional, I believe it’s important to take your health and the health of those around you seriously!
Go Where Your Skills are
If you’re interested in nutrition volunteering, but don’t know where to start, think of what you’re good at. Are you excellent at educating and giving directions? Have you worked ever as a server or cook? Do you already have experience in a clinical setting?
Make a list of all the things you’ve done or are skilled in BEFORE you start your search. If facilities have limited resources, you might have a more difficult time getting in somewhere if you need more training. Plus, if you have a skill that you have a background in and want to get better at, let the place know! That way they can place you somewhere that will help them best and help you get more experience.
E-mail Private Practice Dietitians
This is something I’ve heard before, but never tried. So personally, I can’t say how frequently people do this. However, if you want to become a private practice dietitian some day or learn more about working with a specific population, you should try this!
As I’ve been told, sometimes private practice dietitians take on dietetic interns. Interns will do this to get a private practice or entrepreneurship rotation. But sometimes private practice dietitians appreciate help or want to give experience to nutrition/dietetics students still in their undergrad. You might not be able to do too much due to privacy reasons, but it would be a great chance to learn what a dietitian with a private practice does.
How could you get started here? To start, look up dietitians with a private practice in your area. If things reopen, you could have the chance to shadow them in person!
You can also look up dietitians through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Find an Expert tool. You can use this tool to search your geographic area or look by expertise. The expertise option lets you filter by the dietitian’s business environment (author, marketing, food service). You can also look dietitians up by their specialization (pediatric nutrition, diabetes, integrative medicine, and so much more!).
Keep People Fed
Do you have neighbors you know (or don’t know) who are struggling? Do you enjoy making nutritious meals? Consider serving meals to others in your neighborhood! You could start a social distancing potluck or get together, leave sweet treats at doorsteps, or do a grocery run for someone who can’t safely do so.
Do you want to get involved in something a little more structured? The organization Invisible Hands is a volunteer-based grocery delivery service for those who can’t risk their health for groceries. Right now, you can run deliveries around New York City, Northeast New Jersey, and Philadelphia. If you don’t leave in those areas, you can also volunteer remotely.
Here are a few more nutrition volunteer opportunities to get involved in during a pandemic:
- Meals on Wheels
- Donate to your local food pantry or charity
- Find local and remote opportunities at Volunteer Match
What have you been doing to give back lately?
Until next time,