Was one of your goals for this year to volunteer your time for the good of others? If so, did you know that you can directly impact the lives of eight to 10 of your neighbors simply by volunteering for one lunchtime Meals on Wheels delivery?
There’s also a simple way to quickly multiply the impact of your own volunteerism: starting a Workplace Delivery Team. Volunteering with friends or co-workers adds to the fun and any group of two or more people from organizations or companies of any size can start a Workplace Delivery Team.
Since noontime deliveries are designed to take no more than one hour, volunteers don’t have to miss much, if any, time at work beyond their normal lunch hour in most instances. If your company is also encouraging more volunteering from employees this year, Meals on Wheels is a great place to start.
If you’re interested in starting a Workplace Delivery Team, here are few tips for getting started from some of the experts:
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s okay to make a small commitment. When Karin Vukich started the workplace delivery team at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, she committed the company to delivering meals one day a week. As more people have become interested in volunteering, they now deliver meals three days a week.
“It really helps if someone who is currently a volunteer is willing to take someone with them,” says Alli Janusz, who organizes 3M’s team of more than 200 volunteers. Alli delivers meals with a co-worker she doesn’t get to see often during an average workday. “It gives us a chance to reconnect,” she says, adding they’ll usually grab lunch together after delivering their meals for the day.
Make it regular
By scheduling your deliveries out over the course of the year, volunteers have time to block out delivery shifts far in advance. Once a month is a good frequency for most volunteers, Karin says. It’s not an overwhelming time commitment, but is frequent enough for volunteers to develop familiarity with the route and the get to know some of the clients. At 3M, Alli puts three teams of two volunteers on the same route so other team members can easily step in or trade delivery days if a scheduling conflict arises. For smaller workplace delivery teams, keeping the same route for the whole company makes it easy for regulars to explain the process to newcomers.
Don’t be shy
“We always tell people to just ride along. Once they ride along, they see how it easy it is,” Karin says, adding that asking people face-to-face is key to building your team, as potential volunteers may be interested but have questions that the coordinator can help answer on the spot. “You can put up all the signs and posters you want, but if you really want to get people involved, you have to go out and tap them on the shoulder.”
Instructions and useful tools for getting started can be found in our guide to starting a Workplace Delivery Team. For more information, contact Emily Lund at 612-623-3363. If you’re not ready to commit to starting a Workplace Delivery Team, but would like to deliver meals, you can sign up here.