Kent State Together

A student makes blankets for a service project

How can I help others and stay safe?

As we navigate new realities in the wake of COVID-19, many of us are looking for ways to have a positive impact while following all directives and advice issued by the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health.

Community Engaged Learning has organized "Kent State Together," a collection of virtual volunteering opportunities that enable all of us to make a difference while staying safe and healthy. Some opportunities are tailored to Kent State University and the surrounding region and others are more national in scope. No general registration is required to participate, though participation in particular projects may require submitting a form or sending an email. Simply click on a project or two (or five!) and follow the instructions provided. 

We ask that you take a picture or brief video as you tackle a project and post it on social media so that we all can recognize the impact we are having and how it's building community. Be sure to use the hashtag "#FlashesGiveBack" and tag our office's account in each post! Community Engaged Learning has accounts on the following social media platforms:

 

Do you know of a great opportunity to help that does not appear below but should? Please let us know! 

Important note: Unless specifically noted, the opportunities listed below are not programs of Community Engaged Learning or Kent State University, and no vetting has been done in any way.


What are the projects?


Local Opportunities

Supporting the Campus Kitchen

The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University (CKKSU), started in 2011, is a student-created and student-run effort that runs on volunteers, recovers and distributes food, and prepares meals! By recovering food that otherwise would go to waste, the kitchen is able to prepare 350+ nutritious meals each week for those struggling with food insecurity. Since the beginning of the pandemic response in March, the Campus Kitchen has continued to recover and distribute food to an increasing number of community members every Friday, from 1-4 p.m., at the Beall Hall loading dock.

The organization has two major needs:

1) Donation of Cotton Fabric Facemasks:

Campus Kitchen will be distributing facemasks at the Haymaker Farmer’s Market in Kent for monetary donations to continue its regular operations. To facilitate this, Campus Kitchen is collecting cotton, fabric facemasks. 

2) Staffing the Campus Kitchen Table at the Haymaker Farmer’s Market:

Campus Kitchen will continue to run a table at the weekly Haymaker Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings in downtown Kent. Volunteers are needed to assist with staffing the table.

How do I participate?

  • Donate masks on Fridays at Campus Kitchen’s weekly food pantry distribution (1-4 p.m. at the Beall Hall loading dock) or e-mail campuskitchen@kent.edu to set up another donation time.
  • To register to staff the Haymaker Farmer’s Market table or to learn more, e-mail campuskitchen@kent.edu.

Questions? Contact Amanda Woodyard at apaulus3@kent.edu.

Serve as a Precinct Election Official in Portage and Summit Counties

The Portage County and Summit County Boards of Elections are looking for individuals who can dedicate their time to giving back to their community by becoming a precinct election official. Every Election Day, thousands of citizens are relied upon to staff hundreds of precincts in the area and we want you to be one of them!

While senior citizens often serve as precinct election officials in high numbers, COVID-19 presents them with significant health risks. This means that this November there will be more of a need than ever for younger individuals to serve.

How do I participate?

  • In Portage County: visit this link for more information and to access the application.
  • In Summit County: visit this link for more information and to access the application.

Questions?

  • In Portage County: call the Board of Elections at (330) 297-3511
  • In Summit County: call the Board of Elections at (330) 643-5200
The Great Ohio Health Hunt

The Great Ohio Health Hunt is a grassroots effort across the state of Ohio to get paramedics, doctors, nurses, and others lifesaving equipment and assistance. Currently the organization is looking for donations and asking for people to vote for which Ohio counties should get additional financial resources to support their health care heroes.

How do I participate? You can visit the Great Ohio Health Hunt website to donate and vote.

Questions? Contact the Great Ohio Health Hunt at helpsavelivesohio@gmail.com.

 

Card Making & Mask Making for Hattie Larlham

Hattie Larlham serves 200 adults and children in Northeast Ohio, creating opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through medical, residential, recreational and work training services.

Hattie Larlham has two major needs:

Card Making:
Hattie Larlham is in need of cardmakers that can cheer up residents in group homes and long-term care facilities while they are unable to travel in the community for school or recreation. Silly cards for teens or cards and inspiring words for adults are needed.

Mask Making:
The medical staff and residents of Hattie Larlham are in need of fabric masks. Mask patterns and videos can be found on Joann.com, youtube.com and Pinterest. For best protection, please choose mask designs that contain a removal filter pocket. This is a project for beginner sewers and those who want to help healthcare professionals and protect all of us.

How do I participate?

  • Complete cards and masks from home using your own materials
  • Mail completed cards and masks to the following address:
    • Volunteer Department
    • Lauri Molnar
    • Hattie Larlham
    • 9772 Diagonal Road
    • Mantua, OH 44255

Questions? Contact Lauri Molnar at lauri.molnar@hattielarlham.org.

Support Local Domestic Violence Shelters

While we have been asked to engage in social distancing and to stay home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, following this guidance can pose its own risk to some folks if there is violence in the home.

Safer Futures serves as a link to shelter, support, legal advocacy, and referrals in an effort to lessen the scope of domestic violence in Portage County. The shelter and resource center—the only such facilities in Portage County—remain open and are in need of the following supplies (as of June 2020):

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Masks
  • Clorox Wipes
  • Lysol Spray
  • Bleach
  • Disposable gloves

How do I participate?

Questions? Contact Safer Futures by calling (330) 297-7027.

Pay It Flash Forward Student Emergency Fund

During this unprecedented time and with our continued use of remote instruction, the lives of our students continue to be disrupted.

Along with the uncertainty we continue to face, students and families are also continuing to navigate unexpected costs. Your gift to the Pay It Flash Forward Emergency Fund helps KSU students overcome difficult setbacks and unforeseen financial challenges during this crisis.

How do I participate? Visit the Pay It Flash Forward website and either donate or become a fundraiser and help organize support for the fundraising campaign.

Questions? Contact the Kent State Dean of Students office at (330) 672-8003 or e-mail odos@kent.edu.
 

Regional & National Opportunities

Donate Blood

There has never been a larger need for blood donations. Policies governing blood donations have been relaxed during the pandemic.

How do I participate? Find a local drive by clicking here.

Delivering Groceries and Medications to Seniors Unable to Leave Their Homes

Shopping Angels is a group of volunteers who are willing to pick up and deliver essential groceries and medications for elderly neighbors.

It’s a nationwide effort with a presence in Northeast Ohio. Seniors or their family members call or email the Shopping Angels and give them a list of what they need, then pay for the items however they choose. Volunteers follow CDC guidelines and wear protective equipment while shopping — and deliver right to the doorstep for free.

How do I participate? Learn more about volunteer information/requirements and access the participation form by clicking here.

Questions? E-mail shoppingangelsoh@gmail.com.

Help Repurpose Discarded Medical Supplies and Equipment to Provide to People in Need

With medical equipment in such high demand, volunteer with MedWish International (based in Cleveland) to help people in need and save the environment! Volunteers assist with repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment so that they can be redistributed to partners here and around the world. 

How do I participate? Click here to learn more about volunteering requirements and to register.

Questions? E-mail info@medwish.org or call (216) 692-1685.

Deliver Meals to Vulnerable Populations
Volunteer at Regional Food Banks

Our regional food banks are experiencing high demand, and volunteers are crucial to their operations, saving them millions of dollars in salaries and increasing efficiency, which results in more food being distributed to agencies and clients.

Two food banks in Northeast Ohio are in need of volunteers:

  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

How do I participate?

  • Click here to learn more and register to volunteer at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Click here to learn more about volunteering at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank (the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank will resume volunteer activities July 6, 2020). If you’d like to register to volunteer, you can e-mail Tasha Ledrich (Volunteer Coordinator, Individual) at tledrich@acrfb.org.

Questions?

Serve as a Virtual Mentor for High School Students in Akron Public Schools

Participate in Project GRAD and establish a virtual mentorship with a high school student in Akron Public Schools. All mentors will receive comprehensive training and continuous individualized support and will commit to meeting with mentees once a week through electronic platforms during the 2020-2021 school year.

Mentors will help mentees increase their personal motivation, develop their sense of resilience, realize social and academic achievement, and actualize their plans for life after high school graduation.

How do I participate? Click here to learn more about the opportunity and to apply.

Questions? Contact Project GRAD staff by sending an e-mail to gradmentors1@gmail.com.

Volunteer to Support Parks in Our Region

With parks serving as an ideal setting for activities that incorporate physical distancing and to enjoy the outdoors, our regional parks are in need of some volunteer support.

Cleveland MetroParks needs your assistance!

(Note: the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Summit MetroParks are not accepting any volunteers at this time.)  

How do I participate?

  • Cleveland MetroParks:
    • Individual volunteers: click here to review the calendar of Community Service Days and register to participate in one
    • Group volunteers (no more than 10): click here to register to participate in a group service project

Questions?

Register with the Medical Reserve Corps

Health and emergency management professionals are asking people at home to register and train to become part of Medical Reserve Corps, which is a volunteer opportunity jointly coordinated by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. No special skills are required, and anyone who is 18+ years of age is welcome to participate.

The need for medical volunteers has never been greater. The Medical Reserve Corps is especially interested in people who have health care backgrounds and certifications.

How do I participate? Apply today.

Questions? Complete a contact form on the Medical Reserve Corps website.

Volunteer Online with the United Nations

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program relies on volunteers to contribute to peace and development around the world. Organizations and volunteers use the internet to collaborate and address sustainable development challenges—anywhere in the world, from any device. Through this initiative, skilled, passionate individuals can team up with great organizations to advance sustainable development goals.

How do I participate? Learn more and sign up by visiting the United Nations Volunteers website.

You Will Rise Project

The You Will Rise Project provides an opportunity for people experiencing bulling to share their stories through the arts. Submissions to the showcase can include visual art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, etc.) as well as poetry, song lyrics, short stories, or other creative expressions that best capture their personal experiences.

How do I participate? Visit the You Will Rise Project website.

Free Minds Book Club

Free Minds works with DC youth incarcerated as adults to help them reach their own potential through books, creative writing, and peer support. These young poets achieve educational and career goals and become powerful voices for change in the community through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach.

How do I participate? Learn more at the Free Minds Book Club website.

LibriVox

LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain (books no longer under copyright) and make them available for free on the Internet. All recordings (including yours, if you volunteer) are also donated into the public domain.

How do I participate? Visit the LibriVox website.

7 Cups

7 Cups provides free emotional support to millions of people on a 24/7 basis through an online chat format. Their goal is to ensure nobody has to face challenges alone. Taking the time to listen to and support someone else may be all it takes to make a real difference. Free online training and support is provided. All you need to get started is an internet connection.

How do I participate? Learn more at the 7 Cups website.

Voting & Census Opportunities

Register to Vote and Request an Absentee Ballot

The Ohio General Election takes place on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.   

How do I participate?

  • Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website now to do the following:
    • Check your voter registration status
    • Register to vote or update your voter registration with new information
    • Request an absentee ballot for the November election
       
  • If you live outside Ohio, be sure to visit the Vote 411 website and input your information to access details regarding your state’s voting process.
     
  • Visit the Kent State Votes website to learn more about Kent State-specific voting information.
The 2020 U.S. Census at Kent State

Take the Census and make sure you are counted.

Your participation in the 2020 Census is important. The information the Census collects is confidential – but essential to planning how federal funds reach your community and help ensure its bright future.

How do I participate? Visit Kent State’s Census webpage or the U.S. Census website.

Where should I go to find COVID-19 emergency resources?

The Kent State Dean of Students office has a COVID-19 Emergency Resources Page that contains a variety of information about resources available to the university community.

Who should I contact if I have a question?

For the most part, each of the projects has its own contact person. You can find this in the project details by clicking on the project title and reviewing the additional information that appears. 

If you have questions about the larger Kent State Together project, please contact Community Engaged Learning at community@kent.edu