Coronavirus: Province launches online tool, connecting Albertans with volunteer opportunities

A new online tool has been launched by the province to help connect Albertans with volunteer opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced the Alberta Cares Connector, an online tool that compiles volunteer opportunities across the province in one location.

“Volunteerism is the Alberta way. I continue to be inspired by many acts of Albertan generosity and compassion,” Kenney said.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Helping seniors get the groceries they need during COVID-19 pandemic

“The Alberta Cares Connector will build off this community solidarity and ensure that those who can help will make the biggest impact during this time when support is acutely needed,” he said.

Katie Dodd with Propellus — a volunteer centre in Calgary — said this new online tool will be vital for organizations looking for help amid the pandemic. She added that the website is free to access and easy to navigate.

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“We really want all organizations, big, small, grass-roots and individuals leading movements to post on the Alberta Cares Connector,” Dodd said during an interview with 770 CHQR.

“It will take about five minutes to set up a profile and about five minutes to post an opportunity and then you’re up and going.

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“So it’s a 10-minute investment then you have free access to thousands of volunteers immediately.”

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LISTEN: The province has launched a new online tool to connect Albertans with volunteer opportunities

Since the announcement was made on Wednesday, Dodd said Albertans have been rushing to the website to offer their services to organizations in need.

“We were seeing between 4,000 and 5,000 people looking, and then with the announcement, I think we had about 70,000 people,” she said.

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“People are very excited and keen to help out.”

The government noted that Alberta is home to more than 26,400 non-profit organizations and, each year, more than 1.6 million Albertans provide more than 262 million volunteer hours to these causes.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Sports club provides lifeline for families during COVID-19 pandemic

Dodd said now, during the pandemic, these volunteer hours are more needed than ever.

She said that organizations across Alberta have already shifted their platforms to reflect current health orders and are ready to safely take on volunteers.

“Organizations seem to be acting quite quickly, they’re changing their traditional positions to virtual positions so more people can get in line to help,” she said.

“The platform is very simple and intuitive. If you go to the website, you’re going to see opportunities right away. It’s a very simple tool.”

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The province also announced on Wednesday a new volunteer recognition program.

The Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program will allow residents to nominate volunteers across the province. Those nominated will then be eligible to win an award.

“Any act of volunteerism, done safely, will make a huge difference,” parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Community and Social Services, Jeremy Nixon said.

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“Let’s share the uplifting and inspirational stories of special volunteers who are brightening the lives of others and their communities during this difficult time by nominating them for an Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Award. ”

The nomination submission requests a brief story about the nominee’s contribution to the province. Nominations are currently being accepted online.

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