The Season for Civic Service
US Capitol
This year is an extraordinary one for civic engagement in the United States. In addition to the regular opportunities we have to do things like signing a petition, cleaning up a park, and donating to a cause, in 2020, eligible citizens have the quadrennial chance to vote in the president elections and all residents have the once-a-decade duty to complete the U.S. Census.

With these special civic activities come special opportunities for volunteer service--right here in Montgomery County.

Middle and high school students can serve as election day aides through the Montgomery County Board of Elections' "Future Vote" program, assisting with a variety of tasks at local polling places, such as greeting voters, reminding them of rules, and keeping the precinct tidy. Future Vote volunteers are needed both on primary election day (Tuesday, April 28) and general election day (Tuesday, Nov. 3) and serve three-hour shifts between 6 am and 9 pm. (There are also some setup shifts available the night before elections.) They must attend a one-hour training session with a parent or guardian, and are eligible to receive student service learning hours. Sign up online or email future.vote@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Adults who are interested in helping on election days can serve as election workers. These positions have varied hours and pay stipends. Students age 16 and up who are registered to vote are also eligible to serve in these roles.

The 2020 Census for Montgomery County, meanwhile, needs volunteers of all ages to be Census ambassadors, who attend local events and libraries to educate the community about the upcoming U.S. Census--the federal government's official population count that takes place every 10 years and determines how federal funds are distributed to local government programs. Training is required; Census ambassadors who are younger than 18 must be supervised by an accompanying adult who has also completed the Census ambassador training. SSL hours may only be awarded at events hosted by MCPS SSL organizations.  Apply online.

As with the elections, there are paid positions available with the Census as well. Visit U.S. Census jobs to learn more or apply.
Manna Food Center
Volunteers Help Food Bank End Hunger
Manna Market Volunteers
Manna Food Center, Montgomery County’s primary food bank, has a single mission: to end hunger in our county. Through its food distribution work, education efforts, and advocacy, the organization strives to create a community where all people at all times have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious food in order to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to making Montgomery County a place where all live in dignity.

As part of that goal, Manna recently opened a new choice distribution market in Silver Spring, where participants can shop in a store-like setup to choose the foods that are best for them and their families. And this new market has created new opportunities for customer service-oriented volunteers to support Manna with its vital goal. 

The greatest need is for market volunteers, who assist throughout the market, providing participants with information about the available food and helping them check out, in addition to restocking shelves and working on daily market upkeep. Market volunteers must be at least 16 years old and able to work independently. Shifts are available during the day and evenings, Tuesdays through Fridays, and Manna welcomes individual volunteers as well as small groups. MCPS SSL hours are available for students. 

Manna market reception volunteers are also needed to serve daytime and evening shifts, Tuesdays through Fridays, preferably as a weekly commitment. Reception volunteers greet/check in participants and visitors and maintain a steady flow of traffic into the market. They must be 18 or older; those who are bilingual in English plus Spanish, French, Amharic, or Haitian Creole are particularly welcome. 

In addition, Manna is now recruiting weekday call center volunteers to help schedule market participants by phone, fax, and email. Those who can commit to serving once a week and individuals with bilingual skills are most needed. Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years old. 

For more information, visit Manna online, email Katie Sayago, or call 301-424-1130.
Springtime Volunteering Begins Now!
With the weather warming up, there's no better time than now to get started on new volunteer activities. And there's no better place to find new service projects than the Volunteer Center! Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions you'll find on the Volunteer Center website. Check our online volunteer calendar for more date-specific opportunities or use the search box at the top of this email or the top of our home page to search for more ways to serve.
Opportunities marked with the graduation cap icon meet the MCPS guidelines for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours--but  they're not just for students ! Other opportunities may be eligible for SSL hours; visit the MCPS SSL website to learn more.
MEDICAL PLAY KIT ASSEMBLERS: Saturday, March 7, 10 am-2 pm, Beltsville. Put together medical play therapy kits that the American Childhood Cancer Organization provides to children with recent cancer diagnoses to help familiarize them with the instruments they will encounter during hospital stays. Minimum age: 12. Email Krista Novak or call 855-858-2226.
DONATED CLOTHING SORTERS: Friday, March 20, 1:30-4 pm, Rockville. Help sort and organize clothing donations at Interfaith Works' clothing center, which serves residents throughout the county. Opportunity organized by So What Else. Minimum age: 16. Email Talia Ramey or call 240-778-2660.
EMPOWERED WOMEN ADVOCATES: Saturday, March 21, 8:30 am-12:30 pm, Olney. Exchange ideas about improving educational and professional experiences for female leaders as a participant in MCPS Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement's Symposium for Distinguished Women and Girls in Leadership. Minimum age: 11. Sign up online, email Shella Cherry, or call 240-740-4692.
MOCK INTERVIEW VOLUNTEERS: Tuesday, March 24, 1:30-5 pm, Wheaton. Work with adult students (most of them English language learners) in Catholic Charities' bank teller certification program to help them prepare for job interviews. Volunteers must be at least age 21 and will conduct mock interviews with two to four students using questions provided by the nonprofit. Email Maggie O'Neill.
FUNDRAISING GALA ASSISTANTS: Saturday, March 28, shifts available 2 pm-1 am on Sunday, DC. Help with various event tasks related to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Brewer's Ball, a fundraiser attended by 1,500 guests. Minimum age: 18 (or 21 for some activities). Email Jason Greenspan or call 301-215-7426.
MEALS ON WHEELS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE: Receive meals from suppliers, answer phone calls, manage volunteers, and handle light paperwork for the Rockville Meals on Wheels. Chairpeople of the Day serve as a public face of the organization, and are needed to serve 7:30 am-12 noon, once a week or as a substitute. Minimum age: 18. Email Michelle Perera or call 301-340-1559.
HORSE BARN VOLUNTEERS: Provide for the basic needs of horses at Wheaton Park Stables. Volunteers assist with general maintenance, cleaning riding gear, organizing the tack room, grooming the horses, and preparing them for classes. Minimum age: 14. Email Elizabeth Hay or call 301-622-2424.
HOMEWORK TUTORS: Help elementary school-age refugee children with their homework and studies during Solutions in Hometown Connections' homework helper program, held Saturdays, 9:45 am-12 noon, in Hyattsville. No experience necessary, but volunteers should be willing to tutor once a month. Minimum age: 15. Apply online, email Merritt Groeschel, or call 301-615-1034.
VIDEOGRAPHER ASSISTANT: Work in coordination with the Town of Garrett Park's videographer to field questions from residents participating via livestream in the town's council meetings, held the second Monday of each month. TV experience helpful. Minimum age: 14. Email Elizabeth Henley or call 301-933-7488.
BINGO PARTY HOSTS: Help throw a bingo party for people receiving emergency services at a day shelter in Silver Spring, providing them with a snack, fellowship, fun, and maybe some bingo prizes. KindWorks bingo parties take place on the third Thursday of each month, 1-2:30 pm. Minimum age: 16. Sign up online, email Debra Lang, or call 301-246-2452.
Volunteer at Spring Break & Summer Camps
Spring is around the corner, with summer right behind it. That means it's time to start planning volunteer activities for spring break and summer--especially if you're interested in serving at a camp program or similar multi-day volunteer commitment.

Use the Volunteer Center website to help find these opportunities. Search for the keyword "spring break" and check out the April volunteer calendar to learn about ways to serve during next month's MCPS spring break. For summer-specific volunteer opportunities, search for the keyword "summer" and look through the volunteer calendars for June, July, and August. Most of these opportunities are geared toward students (and meet the criteria for MCPS student service learning hours), but some are specifically in search of adults and a few are appropriate for families to volunteer together.

If you don't find the right volunteer position the first time you look, be sure to check back as new opportunities are added regularly.
Explore Volunteer Options for Vital Living
Next Session: Monday, March 30, in Potomac
Are you age 50+ and looking for your best volunteer fit? Learn how the Volunteer Center can help at a special library-sponsored presentation set for on Monday, March 30, 1-2 pm at the Potomac Library.

This free event will examine the rich resources available through the Volunteer Center for exploring service opportunities, including the 50+ Volunteer Network, which offers personal consultations and guidance to help individuals identify volunteer activities that fit their interests and lives. Attendees will also hear about actual volunteer experiences with local nonprofits and will receive a free copy of the 50+ Vital Living Networker, a compilation of local resources for seniors. No registration is necessary.

For more information, email 50plus@montgomerycountymd.gov. Deaf and hard-of-hearing services are available; email MCPL.DeafAccess@montgomerycountymd.gov or call the Potomac Library at 240-777-0690.
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference, a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that work to better our community. This month's episode highlights A Wider Circle, an organization committed to addressing poverty in our region through a variety of programs, including job training.
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