Current Volunteer Needs

Ways volunteers can give back to their communities during a time of community disruption.

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Volunteer Opportunity Updates


We will continue updating this page with opportunities as we learn about them. If you have a volunteer opportunity that you want to share with us, please email

Remember, whereas BVU believes everyone has something to share, we also maintain that it is critical to do so in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations and your own health and safety.

Volunteering during the Coronavirus Outbreak


History has shown that in times of need, strong communities unite to share resources and weather the storm, together. The Coronavirus and social distancing has upended the traditional model of collaboration. How can we pull together during a time when we are advised to stay apart? By everyone doing what they can.

As a part of our mission to strengthen Northeast Ohio, BVU will continue to connect businesses and the community to the nonprofits who need their help. BVU has dedicated this page to ways businesses and community members can share their time and resources specifically in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. As you know, things are changing frequently so we urge you to check this site regularly for updates and new information.

It is important that each business and community member respond in a way that is safe and appropriate for you. BVU is not endorsing any one particular way of volunteering. Rather we want to encourage you to feel empowered knowing that all of us can make a difference in our own way.


Ways You Can Volunteer


Virtual Volunteering

  • Be a Business Mentor with Score Cleveland: Help small businesses, both non-profit and for profit, reach their goals by becoming a Score Cleveland Mentor. Score Cleveland is seeking volunteers with expertise in any business topic, including but not limited to marketing strategy and planning, finance and accounting, management, technology, strategy, business development and sales management, etc. Training and orientation is done virtually. Learn more at
  • College Now Greater Cleveland needs 1000 mentors for its college scholarship recipients for the 2020/2021 school year!
    Time Commitment: Two emails per month, and a few meetings per year.
    Share your expertise with college students to help them reach their full potential and graduate from college. Our unique mentoring program is strategically designed to accommodate the schedules of busy students and professionals. When you become a mentor, you join more than 2000 other Cleveland professionals who have already found that a small investment of your time can have a tremendous impact on a college student’s life, and on the region’s economy. The first step is to complete an online application by clicking here: Once your application is complete, we’ll follow up with you for next steps! Contact Jabari Dorsey for more information at or 216-635-0268.
  • EYEJ: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice: It only takes an hour to have an incredible, perspective-shifting discussion with Cleveland’s youth and provide them with the platform to speak up on these issues. Using a pre-written speaker guide to discuss these issues, EYEJ encourages adult volunteers to incorporate their own stories, experiences, and expertise to create an open, genuine, and direct dialogue. As a volunteer, you can sign-up to be a speaker, a facilitator, or a coordinator (click HERE for detailed position descriptions). All volunteers need to complete a mandatory Empowerment Training Workshop before their service date. These trainings are inspirational, engaging, discussion-based and collaborative. For more information email or visit
  • Help people with reading barriers: helps people with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading. Volunteers scan and proofread additions for their online library.
  • Record Computer Training Videos: This is a unique virtual volunteer opportunity that will help adults in the Cleveland area learn basic computer skills! Volunteers are needed to record short (10-15 minute) teaching videos for Seeds of Literacy’s Adult Education Programs. These students need help with basic video topics include turning a computer on and off (desktop and laptop if possible), opening an internet browser and navigating to a webpage, making an email account (gmail), opening/adding an attachment in an email, password recovery, joining a video lesson, creating bookmarks, and more. Please contact Sharon Farrer, Volunteer Coordinator, 216-661-7950 ext 115 for more information. Seeds of Literacy is a non-profit organization that provides FREE basic education and GED®, TASC®, and HiSET® preparation to adults in the Cleveland area. Students, volunteers, and donors all work to break a root cause of poverty: illiteracy.
  • Transcribe Historical Documents for the Smithsonian: Love History and looking to volunteer while social distancing? Join our online transcription project to transcribe old documents making them accessible to history buffs, students, and researchers in the future. Smithsonian Digital Volunteer:   
  • Social Media Volunteer: Do you enjoy working with social media and have a passion for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s? Hope for a Cure for Alzheimer’s is seeking a trained social media advocate who will be responsible for posting great content that supports the organization. This virtual position requires good writing skills and only a couple of hours per week. Social media management skills such as Hootesuite a plus! Contact Bob Arnoff at for more information.
  • Virtual Tutors: Catholic Charities’ Mitigation & Refugee Services is seeking volunteer Math & Science Tutors, Mentors, and Citizenship Tutors. Virtual training is provided and no background check is needed if volunteering 4 hours or less per month. Contact for more information.
  • Volunteer Translators for Global Cleveland: Volunteers are needed to translate state and local public health information to help keep everyone in the Greater Cleveland area informed with COVID-19 updates. Global Cleveland is looking for more translators to help. E-mail if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer.
  • Additional Virtual Volunteer Opportunities: When you think about volunteers, the typical image of a team planting a community garden, revitalizing a local park or painting a lively mural at a school comes to mind. Yet all around the globe, at any given time, thousands (if not millions) of engaged citizens volunteer virtually — using their computers, the Internet, even their smart phones. Click here to view Points of Light’s Virtual Volunteer Opportunities


Organizations that need on-site volunteers:

    • American Red Cross Blood Services: Blood Donor Screener. COVID-19 has temporarily disrupted normal life in many communities, but the need for blood hasn’t changed. The American Red Cross has implemented several enhanced blood donations protocols in the interest of safety, and there is an urgent and critical need for volunteers to support these protocols. A new volunteer opportunity, Blood Donor Screener, will help pre-screen blood donors entering drives or donation centers, including taking temperatures. In this volunteer position you can volunteer just once or multiple times, the choice is yours! Red Cross is seeking individuals to fulfill this volunteer role immediately. To sign up click HERE Red Cross COVID-19 Application
    • American Red Cross: Blood Transportation Specialists, Disaster Actions Team Members, Blood Donor Ambassador. See detailed descriptions and contact information HERE.
    • Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank: Prepare Books for Distribution Cleveland Kids Book Bank is welcoming back volunteers (ages 13+). Browse, batch, and box books for distribution to organizations serving children and families in need. To learn more about what is new at the Kids’ Book Bank, watch their reopening video here. Volunteer shifts are open through the summer. Sign up here. If you have questions, please call 216-417-1803 or email
    • The Music Settlement: We are in need of volunteers to help us with some of our tasks at TMS – University Circle campus. Our Center for Music Therapy needs volunteers to help organize the library, do filing for Library World, general filing-archives, updating information in files, and instrument organization and storage. Contact Claudine DeGennaro,, (216) 231-5032. Needs in our Accounting department include a volunteer every Thursday to file and make copies for about 3-4 hours between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Contact Anne Reed at (216) 421-5806. We are following rigorous safety precautions and protocols in line with the CDC, State of Ohio etc.
    • Second Harvest Food Bank: Volunteer opportunities at our Drive-Thru Mobile Pantries or in the Warehouse Facility will resume in July, please apply for the Mobile Pantry Volunteer Corps or Warehouse Volunteer Corps. Guidelines and more information are listed under the project description HERE! Volunteer Repack Events at Second Harvest have been CANCELLED until July 31st.
    • Second Harvest Food Bank: Do you have a green thumb and love being outside? The Gardening Volunteer Corps at Second Harvest Food Bank is perfect for you. Assist with upkeep of the flower beds at the Nordson Food Distribution Center. Tasks include weeding, watering as needed, and picking up trash on the property July-September. Hours and days can be flexible as long as it is during business hours. Sign up here if you are interested or contact Jenny Lynch,, 440-960-2265
    • The Hunger Network: Become a Food Rescue Hero by picking up and delivering food to hunger.


Donations Needed: Click HERE to see a list of all the donations needed from local Northeast Ohio nonprofits


Become a Skills-Based Volunteer: BVU connects individuals with specialized skills and talents to strengthen the infrastructure of a nonprofit. Experts from human resources, technology, finance, marketing, real estate, law and other professions are needed to help nonprofits with specific projects. To become a skills-based volunteer, click HERE.


How to help from your home:

  • Sew Masks for Teachers and Music Therapists at The Music Settlement (TMS) The Music Settlement is a centuries-old community music school catering to a diverse clientele, from children as young as three-weeks old to retired adults and veterans, improving the quality of life for those they serve.  We would like to supply our staff with re-usable cloth face masks. The cloth face masks that we are interested in have a plastic cloth piece that allows the wearer’s mouth to be seen by others.  This is ideal for our Teachers and Music Therapists. We are requesting 50 cloth face masks, using the template below, by June 12, 2020 and and additional 50 cloth masks, using the same template, by June 30, 2020. Please contact Kathi Koenig, Chief of Staff & Development Associate, by e-mail at or by phone at 440-421-5806 ext. 123.
  • Be a friendly neighbor – Spend a little extra time on your phone by calling neighbors and others who need to hear a friendly voice.
  • Creative card makers – Drop off cards or a small token of cheer to brighten someone’s day who will be socially isolated during this time (remember that most living facilities are not receiving visitors to keep their residents safe, but you can still send a card!)
  • DIY Volunteer Opportunities from Points of Light. Check out this list of projects you can do from home (great for families and youth too!)
  • Foster shelter animals. Many shelters have already had to close to the public or cancel events, and many others may need to do so in the coming days ― meaning fewer pets are being adopted out, even as animals continue to come in. Shelters want to move as many animals as possible off the premises and into foster homes, in case they’re hit with staffing shortages as employees and volunteers get sick or need to self-quarantine. Find a shelter or rescue organization near you.
  • Help seniors or others who are isolated – The National Council on Aging offers tips to help older adults: check in with them to see what they need, make sure they have the food and medication they need, offer reading materials (books, magazines) you may have and more.
  • Help combat social isolation/lonelinessMake regular phone or video call visits, make cards or write letters, emails, or social media messages to seniors in nursing homes who cannot have visitors.
  • Red Scarf Project: Do you like to knit or crochet?  Whether you are a beginner, an expert or somewhere in between, your handiwork can send warmth and encouragement to a student from foster care.  The handmade red scarves in our Valentine’s Day care packages become treasured keepsakes that our students wear for years. “Your hands are a window into your heart and soul.  There is love in every stitch, and a handmade scarf is like a hug.  The FC2S Red Scarf Project gives us each an opportunity to show that someone out there truly cares about our foster youth.”  Lily Chin, Master Knitter. CLICK HERE for red scarf guidelines and patterns, and contact with questions. Scarves are accepted between September 1 and December 15 annually.  As we have limited storage space, please send your scarves only during this time period.
  • Send a Message through Volunteers of America: Share a message of hope with a veteran, mother, family or individual who is fighting their way to well-being right now. Click here to Share Hope.
  • Sewing Face Masks: Click HERE for instructions on how to make fabric face masks at home. Donate them to nonprofits in need including Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside AvenueThe Cleveland ClinicUniversity Hospitals, or send one of these organizations for distribution: Pins & Needles. Also check out ways to make a No-Sew Pleated Face Mask with Handkerchief and Hair Tie.
  • Share Food with Neighbors in Need with Little Free Pantry. Check out this website to start your own pantry or donate to an existing one.
  • Show the environment a little love – Take a “Litter Walk” or start planning your “bee-friendly” garden to bring back the pollinators
  • Time to Donate your Spring-Cleaning Items: If you set aside clothes, books, and other household items during the shelter-in-place order, now may be the time to deliver your items to those in need! Check with your favorite agency for drop-off times.


Volunteer Ideas for Children & Youth

  • Discover daily ideas from Caring Cubs, a Northeast Ohio nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for families to introduce young children to volunteerism year round.
  • Check out Northeast Ohio Parent’s article Kind Kids: 5 Ways to Help Others in the Time of COVID-19
  • How Youth Can Help Communities Respond to & Recover From the Coronavirus Pandemic – Volunteering and service are more important during a crisis than ever. Here are 20 ways youth can help on 9/11 Day of Service. Recognizing that most of the needs caused by the pandemic are really the result of existing problems being made worse by the public health and economic crisis; included here are ideas and resources for both short-term immediate needs and long-term pre-existing issues.


Special Requests for Businesses

Provide Space for Blood Drives
Reserves of blood are rapidly being depleted and the American Red Cross needs to keep hosting Blood Drives to replenish them. Businesses can help by offering space.
A good space for Blood Drives has the following attributes:

  • Space to set up a blood donation facility
  • A space of ~1,000+ (larger is better)
  • Space with restroom facilities
  • Wide open parking

Please contact Tim O’Toole at / 216.431.3661 if you have space available.

Help the Hospitals
We are beginning to hear from our hospitals and health care providers on their needs to help us provide critical care and to protect our health care workers as they support patients.
I have a request from one of our hospitals for a PORTABLE U/V LIGHT to help sterilize used PPE.  Looking for that equipment for loan, rent or purchase.  If your company or a company you work with can provide this please contact Steve Millard at (216) 401-0935 or at
In addition, we are looking for companies to retool or refocus efforts on increasing personal protective equipment production.  Swabs for test kits, face shields, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, goggles and medical gowns.There are several organizations including the Emergency Management Agency, MAGNET, and hospital procurement specialists helping with this conversion, including provision of specs, raw materials and consultation.
If you can help in this regard or want to learn more, let us know at and we will connect you with the right people.

Volunteer Request Form


BVU will continue to connect businesses and the community to the nonprofits who need their help

Fill out the form below with any additional volunteer requests