ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — It’s national volunteer month, and the Catholic Charities of Arlington is recognizing their overall impact of its more than 2,500 volunteers, 1,148 of which were new, this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One volunteer, Jack Anderson, said, “With the online classes because of COVID and everything, I had some extra time and I thought what better way to get out of the house and do something good for the community.”
Balancing being a pre-med student and volunteer, Anderson’s passion is wanting to give back to others. He said he wasn’t in the high-risk category, so he stepped up for those who normally volunteered but no longer could.
“I’ll package the food so it can go out to orders, and I will sort the food. I’ve made a few deliveries to the different locations that we supply, I think it’s great work,” said Anderson.
Volunteers have provided almost $4 million dollars in food, rent and utility assistance since the start of the pandemic.
Debra Beard, director of volunteers with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, said, “Our volunteers stepped in and very graciously helped us with being able to provide our services in spite of the risk to themselves. Their hearts were beating strongly in understanding the suffering and the needs of our clients.”
To continue the effort, Catholic Charities launched #FindYourJoy, a social media campaign to encourage young people to volunteer with one of its various service ministries.
“College students who were home online learning were coming in, and asking how they can serve just like Jack. It really filled the necessary gap for us,” said Beard.
Arlington officials said they will continue to thank their 2,500 volunteers, 1,148 of which were new this past year. Catholic Charities operates 21 programs throughout the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese.