Volunteer Perspectives

August 14, 2020 - United Way of Greater New Haven is leading the coordinated response to meet the basic needs of our neighbors during this crisis while building a more just, inclusive community for the future. We have helped thousands of people who are struggling to find housing, feed their families and pay for utilities and other household basics.

As community needs have escalated throughout the pandemic, our reliance on volunteers has also increased. During this time of uncertainty, we have called upon community members to be courageous and step out on the frontlines to help our neighbors in need. Since March, 460 volunteers have served over 675 hours. We want to say thank you to those who have volunteered – both in-person and virtually at home. You are helping us make a true impact in Greater New Haven.

United Way staff has the privilege of speaking with volunteers and hearing how their own lives are touched through the opportunity to get involved. We would like to share a few of those stories with you today. Whether you are already volunteering or looking for ways to make a difference, we hope you will find these stories inspiring.

With thanks,



Hamden Neighborhood Pantry: Rose

“If you have resources, it’s shocking how easy it is to be disconnected from those who don’t – even if they’re your neighbors. I joined Women United to make stronger connections within my community and to take a more direct role in helping to ease some of the pressures on the organizations doing good work within it. It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the news cycle, or the scale of problems that exist in the world, and for me this has been an antidote to that.”

Pantry to Pantry: Grocery Delivery Volunteers

“I’m delivering groceries with my 16 year old son. This experience is truly helping him understand his place in the world. Everyone who receives the deliveries is so gracious and grateful.” — “The opportunity to serve the community in such an immediate and tangible way has been beneficial for me. Being part of the solution has been a positive experience in a negative time.”

Virtual Volunteering: Marinda

“Getting involved with Women United has reminded me of the importance of basic needs. COVID-19 has only made disparities worse, but I have learned that every gesture, no matter how small, can make a difference. If there is someone that is in need of food, books for a home or school library, a recorded book reading, a note of encouragement during these unprecedented times, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help.”

Volunteer Coordinator: Dennis

“As UWGNH Volunteer Coordinator, COVID-19 affected every part of my work. From reimagining in-person events, to creating diverse virtual volunteer opportunities, the impact has been felt in many ways. We have been fortunate to have a committed base of volunteers who are always ready to tackle the needs of our community. Whether they are masked and ready to feed neighbors, or in their living room recording stories for students, volunteer support has not wavered.”


HAMDEN POP-UP PANTRY: Feed Neighbors in Need

Join UWGNH and St. Ann’s Church as we partner for a weekly food distribution in Hamden!

We need volunteers to bag groceries, distribute food, and gather data from families using the pantry (bilingual volunteers strongly preferred for data collection).


Looking for a way to get involved virtually? As the new academic year begins, local schools need resources for teachers. You can share the joy of learning from home by recording a video of you or someone else reading a book! To volunteer, contact Dennis Velasquez at volunteer@uwgnh.org.

ADVOCATE: Increase SNAP Benefits

Increasing monthly SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) by 15% would provide a family of four with an extra $100 per month to put food on the table. ⁣ ⁣ Join us in urging congress to increase monthly SNAP benefits on the COVID-19 relief bill. Click here to contact your local officials today! ⁣

DONATE: Help Your Neighbors

Give today to support United Way’s work to fight hunger, end homelessness, and provide all kids with a strong start. Together, we can continue to meet the needs of our neighbors today and provide hope for tomorrow.

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