Opportunities to Serve the Community


Please visit GW’s COVID-19 Resource Page for information about changes to university services or visit DC's Coronavirus Resource Page for updates and information for the DC Community.


During this time we will occasionally post virtual or direct, in-person service opportunities. In these cases, we will always check to see if physical distancing, gloves, and other good hygiene practices are in place. However, at this time, there is nothing that is guaranteed to prevent virus transmission. So, please consider these in-person opportunities as opportunities, not requirements, and in light of your own personal health, those you live with, and tolerance for risk. 

Check out our video explaining how to use GWServes to find virtual opportunities.

Please be sure to log your COVID-19 Related Service Here.


General Ways to Serve

  • Check NextDoor.com in your own community to review requests or offer your services. 
  • Check the website of your local/regional United Way and Volunteer Centers as some appear to be compiling ideas from local agencies for how residents can serve. If you don’t see information the first time, check back as this sort of organizing takes time. 
  • Check out this article in DCIST featuring 6 Ways You Can Help Fight Coronavirus Impacts In The D.C. Area
  • Check out this article in the Washington Post about ways to can help during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Check-in on your local homeless shelters' and food banks' websites.

Help Combat Social Isolation During Physical Distancing Measures 

  • Check-in on your neighbors with a note or call and introduce yourself if you don’t already know them. 
  • Offer to run errands for those who are immune-compromised 
  • For families with parents working from home and kids home from school, offer a regular video chat time to keep the kids productively busy and give parents a break. 
  • Start a virtual book club, not only with friends but with community members needing social connections. 
  • Record performances or workshops to share in the community. 
  • Be an appreciative audience for the talents of community members. Organize an online opportunity for kids to play instruments or other performances and recruit your friends to give them a good audience. 
  • Help spread the word about on-line events like streaming concerts and author readings.
  • The Jewish Social Service Agency is looking for volunteers to make phone calls to the elderly population they serve, just to talk with them and provide some company (normally they do house visits).
  • For people feeling isolated, fostering a cat, dog, or other pet could be a good way to help the community while also performing self-care. Many animal shelters have had to shut down and are placing new intakes in foster situations. In the DMV area, City Dogs and Lovepaws are both good options.
  • Connect with seniors and young kids through Big & Mini to provide companionship during these hard times. 

Support the Local Economy 


  • Miriam's Kitchen's guests experiencing homelessness are often elderly and have a complicating health condition--making them extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus. Without a home of their own, they also don't have a sink to wash their hands nor a bed to rest when they are sick. By donating to Miriam's Kitchen, you will help provide your neighbors in need with made-from-scratch meals, emergency supplies (like hand sanitizers and masks), access to bathrooms with sinks, grocery bags full of essentials so elderly residents can shelter in place, and so much more. Donate to their emergency response fund.
  • Support local shelters by purchasing wish list items, making donations 
  • American Red Cross  is experiencing a severe blood shortage due to Coronavirus Outbreak. Click here to find a blood drive near you. 
  • Consider donating to the World Central Kitchen or buy gift cards to one of the Think Food Group restaurants to support their community kitchens. 
  • ROC-DC-  In need of financial donations to provide emergency relief to impacted restaurant workers in the DMV. 
  • DC Dream Center- In need of financial donations to continue providing free meals and supplies to those in need in Southeast DC. 

  • Capital Area Food Bank- Financial contributions appreciated to continue their mission of providing food to food insecure neighbors. 

  • DC Central Kitchen- Financial contributions ensure that they can continue to serve the community. 

  • Serve Your City - Moving to serve as the Ward 6 hub for #DCMutualAid, a community-led grassroots effort.

  • Nonprofit Firstbook is collecting donations for low-income students who need books and hygienic supplies.

  • Consider donating to Martha's Kitchen, who are currently providing food and supplies for every family or child involved in their education program.

  • Tables Without Borders has teamed up with Ayuda DC to provide meals for at-risk immigrant families and furloughed restaurant workers. Donate here to help pay the chefs of Tables Without Borders. 

  • Mary's Center is a non-profit community health center working to treat at-risk patients in the community and they are seeking donations to expand telehealth services. 

  • Casa Ruby provides social services to those most vulnerable in the DC community, with a specific focus on LGBT people, particularly people of color. Currently, they are overwhelmed and are looking for donations.

  • Sanctuary DMV is a group standing in solidarity with immigrants and marginalized communities in the DMV area. Currently, they are looking for volunteers to donate or deliver (no contact) food to people on their waitlist.

  • Maryland Food Bank has a pantry on the go food program that is no contact.

  • We Are Family is looking for people to deliver groceries to the elderly in DC.

Serve Anywhere

  • Manna Food Center is a food bank in Montgomery County looking for volunteers for multiple things, most of which can be done from home.
  • The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention to LGBT youth, is currently seeking volunteers and donations. During Covid-19 their caseload has doubled. There are different types of volunteers, those who provide direct support by phone,  support by text, and those who conduct research.
  • Citizen Archivist with National Archives - Help make the records of the National Archives more searchable and discoverable. 
  • Hopecam - Hopecam is a service that gives virtual visits to sick children who cannot have regular visitors because they are immunocompromised. Students sign up here .  There are short term and long term remote volunteer opportunities. 
  • The Smithsonian Transcription Center  - Help transcribe historical documents and biodiversity data, making information more accessible to all. 
  • eBird - Observe and record birds from your home and help further scientific research with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Check out this article from Points of Light and Good Morning America about ways to volunteer from home.
  • CovEd.org is seeking virtual mentors for K-12 students from under-resourced communities.
  • Transcribe notes from Supreme Court Justices.
  • Contribute to digital mapping of vulnerable communities with Missing Maps.
  • Help Amnesty International conduct research on global human rights violations.
  • Are you fluent in more than one language? Spend some time helping Translators Without Borders translate materials for crisis relief, health, and education projects around the world.
  • Scan or proofread books added to an online digital collection for individuals with reading disabilities through BookShare.Org.
  • Allow your computer to run calculations that support researchers in better understanding how proteins fold with [email protected] 
  • The United Nations has a list of projects in many fields.
  • Check VolunteerMatch for COVID-19 related online projects
  • Make masks from home!
  • Help Learning Ally empower dyslexic, blind, and visually impaired students by helping them make audiobooks.
  • Looking for long-term opportunities? Consider:
    • Applying to work on projects for a wide variety of government agencies via the Virtual Student Federal Service.
    • Get trained and staff Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7 national crisis-intervention and counseling service conducted exclusively through SMS text. Volunteers are screened and complete self-paced training, afterward staffing one four-hour shift each week for a year.
    • Be My Eyes is looking for sighted individuals to receive video calls via their phones on a mobile app, from blind and low-vision individuals looking for help with miscellaneous tasks.

  • Turning the Page is looking for volunteers to help with their online relationship-building and community engagement events titled as the "Family Room."

  • If you are a law student, help the Suffolk Law School's Legal Innovation Lab by volunteering to transcribe court forms and legal documents to an online-friendly version in order to help people affected by the pandemic get the help they need.

  • CARECEN’s citizenship and civic engagement program prepares permanent residents to pass the naturalization exam and become active and engaged US citizens. Interpreters, interviewers, and teachers needed.

  • The DC Reading Clinic (a project of DCPS) offers training and tutoring in reading to DCPS children. During the COVID-19 event, the clinic staff are working with schools to tutor struggling readers Grades 1-2 online while DCPS is engaged in distance learning. If you, as an American University student, are interested and able to participate, please complete the form at the link.

  • Write letters to folks who are incarcerated and are experiencing social isolation at this time with the Malta Pen Pal Program. To get involved, email Doug at [email protected].

  • The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless has created an extensive COVID-19/Coronavirus Resource Guide and is looking for volunteers.