Capital area non-profits concerned about post-holiday drop in volunteering
BATON ROUGE - This holiday season was tremendous for volunteering in Baton Rouge.
"We had a record year for volunteers," Mike Manning with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank said. "11,000 volunteers putting in the equivalent of almost 19 full time employees for us."
At both the Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul, the need this year has shot up significantly.
"The need has been tremendous, and I think it's increasing, especially after the last six months when the eviction moratorium was taken up and inflation has now kicked in," said Michael Acaldo, with St. Vincent de Paul.
With that increasing need, the non-profits are worried about the annual post-holiday volunteer slump.
"We see that every year, COVID or no COVID. We do see a drop off of volunteers at the beginning of the new year and typically after Christmas," Acaldo said.
"They tend to calm down significantly, but we have a core group of really dedicated volunteers that will keep us going. But we will begin a significant outreach to corporations to come in and volunteer," Manning said.
Compounding the problem, both organizations have had to limit how many volunteers they can have due to the pandemic.
"We've limited the number of volunteers. So one of our concerns is that if people get out of the habit of volunteering because of COVID restrictions and limitations, they may not want to get back into it once all these surges and variants end," Acaldo said.
The food bank is especially hoping COVID eases up before the need explodes any more.
"We anticipate it's going to be higher. We're hopeful that with COVID, if we can ever get over it to the point of reducing restrictions and other things, that will encourage people to come out and volunteer," Manning said.
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