April 29, 2020

Supporting our communities through new forms of volunteerism during COVID-19

By Su Lok, Director of Corporate and Community Partnerships, ScottsMiracle-Gro

With the current work-remote protocols in effect for many companies across the country due to the novel coronavirus, most traditional team-based community service events have been suspended, including ours at ScottsMiracle-Gro.  

And yet the needs of nonprofits helping our most vulnerable populations are now more intense than ever. Even if we currently can’t come together to help our nonprofit partners in-person due to social distancing practices, we can still stay engaged through other forms of volunteerism assistance. 

Here are some ways to help your community, in most instances without ever leaving home.

Donating critical-need items

Consider donating critical-need items to the nonprofit of your choice. High-demand items include cleaning supplies and shelf-stable foods. To help address the shortage of personal protective equipment, ScottsMiracle-Gro has shifted production in its Temecula, California manufacturing plant to produce face shields to help protect healthcare workers and first responders in critical need areas across the country.

Our associate Gina Campos packed face shields to donate to local first responders in California.

Food donations

Food insecurity is a national issue facing at-risk groups, often targeting children and the elderly. Help organize a food drop-off program or work with your area food bank to collect high-need items. You can also share resources through your social media networks about how individuals and families can locate free meals in their communities. 

ScottsMiracle-Gro associate Diane Spires coordinated a food delivery to the staff at Memorial Hospital in Union County, Ohio.

Community support at the grassroots level can often take the form of simple grocery delivery to your neighbors, family and friends who may be dealing with food insecurity challenges. Deliveries can readily be made while maintaining social distancing recommendations. Local and national chapters of the YWCA have established themselves as collection points for household and personal care items. Most items can be dropped off by appointment to help ensure the safety of the community. 

Letter writing

For the many facing social isolation in their communities, a simple letter of encouragement can make all the difference. Consider writing a card or note to residents and families at your local senior center, nursing home, domestic violence center or homeless shelter. 

Share skills virtually

You can also virtually share your professional and technical skills with the nonprofit community. From marketing planning to IT support, most small organizations need your specific assistance. These organizations may not advertise their need for support, so you may need to reach out to see if you can help. One of our associates––Tom Rees, communications manager at ScottsMiracle-Gro––recently assisted his local YMCA with best practices on video production and digital communications planning.

Our associate Tom Rees helped his local YMCA navigate through video production and a digital communications strategy over a videoconference.

Monetary support 

And remember that you can provide direct support with a monetary donation to organizations on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus. To support our local communities, our foundation provided initial seed funding through the Union County Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and also serves as a match sponsor for the United Way of Central Ohio’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Remember it’s important to stay tuned in and engaged with local needs during these unprecedented times. 

Learn more about how ScottsMiracle-Gro associates are giving back.