Giving back from home: Serving with CHRIS 180 virtually

I closed my laptop at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday and did my now very familiar quarantine routine of moving from my makeshift desk at the kitchen table to the couch in the living room. I scrolled through Netflix (and Hulu, HBO &  Amazon) before finally just putting on the same show I always watch. I half-watched while simultaneously scrolling through my phone. I made a joke about closing my medium screen for the week to go watch the big screen while looking through my small screen.

Does this whole routine sound familiar?  Almost a year into the COVID-19  pandemic and it often feels like we’re all living this same cycle. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to shake things up—change up our routine and be able to volunteer? Now you’re probably thinking, “Well of course it would be, but I can’t volunteer without risking my health and the health of others.” Lucky for you, CHRIS 180 has several opportunities you can safely do from the comfort of your home, while still half-watching that favorite show in the background.

Are you ready to shake up your familiar routine? Then grab a pen and paper and make a list of the supplies you need for some of the projects listed below. Grab your roommate, partner, kids, or neighbors and make a difference for all of those CHRIS 180 serves!

 

Valentine’s Day Treat Bags

  • Having pre-made treat bags will help us give our clients the normalcy of another holiday without any health risks.
    • Many of the children in our programs aren’t back to face-to-face learning and won’t receive the normal goodies that they have grown accustomed to receiving from classmates or teachers .
  • Volunteers can purchase candy and other treats to put together small treat bags that we can then distribute to clients in our counseling centers and community programs.

 

No Sew Fleece Tie Blankets

  • During the winter months, CHRIS 180 is committed to ensuring young adults and families experiencing homelessness can stay warm. Making no sew blankets is a fun hands-on activity that helps keep those on the streets of Atlanta warmer through the winter season.
  • How to instructions on making no-sew throw blankets

 

Street Outreach Bracelets

  • CHRIS 180 goes wherever the need is, and sometimes that need is right on the streets of Atlanta. Our outreach team goes to places we know there are either encampments or groups of people experiencing homelessness to let them know about our services and provide them with essentials. When the team encounters someone experiencing homelessness, they also give them a bracelet with our phone number on it. The bracelet serves as a reminder that CHRIS 180 is there to help.
  • The supplies needed for this project can be bought online at places like Amazon or in person at Michael’s or other art supply stores.

 

Organize a Neighborhood Drive

  • Does your neighborhood have an active Facebook group or a large number of posts on NextDoor? Use that to your advantage while advocating for CHRIS 180!
    • Volunteers often organize winter coat drives, holiday gift drives, wrapping paper, school supplies—the list of possibilities is endless!
    • Find out what CHRIS 180 is most in need of and see if your neighbors are willing to help—you might be surprised how often people are willing to participate once someone comes up with the idea and is willing to safely collect the items to drop off to us.

 

Hygiene Kits:

  • For the young adults who use our Drop-In Center, hygiene kits have become more important than ever. We are always in need of hygiene kits to distribute. Being able to provide items including hand soap, body wash and hand sanitizer can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep those who are most likely to be impacted safe. Typically, we see travel sized items put together in a Ziploc bag.

 

Snack Packs:

  • We use snack packs across many of our programs, from our Drop-In Center to our foster homes. Typical items in the packs are fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit cups (with a spoon), juice boxes and crackers.
  • There are typically a few items packed in a Ziploc or brown bag.

 

Play Therapy / Art Therapy Kits

  • Our therapists with the CHRIS Counseling Centers and our school based therapists love having kits full of different sensory and art items for their sessions which include:
    • Legos, fidget spinners, Play-doh, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and kinetic sand
      • These items are easily found in dollar stores and can then be put together into paper bags or plastic bags to create kits ready to go straight to our clients!
      • These kits help our clients focus on healthy coping mechanisms and in a virtual world are delivered to the children we serve.

 

For information on how to drop off your service projects or for other questions, email Grace.Garde@CHRIS180.org. Happy Volunteering!

 

Grace Garde
grace.garde@CHRIS180.org
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