Started at the beginning of the COVID pandemic by longtime homelessness activist Rick Stoff and record executive Richard Foos, Volunteer Collective is a nonprofit organization formed to spark volunteer energy through monthly “pop-up” drives and volunteer events.
VC works to increase the reach of nonprofit organizations by identifying and mobilizing volunteers. It does this through referrals and monthly challenges that provide direct and immediate impact. VC simply asks neighbors, co-workers, and friends, to join in and ease the suffering in our region. In short, our mantra is: “If you ask neighbors to help neighbors, they will say yes”.
One of the most frustrating experiences in homelessness and poverty work is how often people say, “I would like to help, but what difference does it make?” This gap has left a large pool of volunteers, donors, and advocates on the bench in the midst of a severe social and human crisis.
The ‘ask’ is done through a combination of emails, local press, television and radio, direct outreach to congregations of faith organizations, ads on social media, contacting of elected official to be in their newsletters, and general word of mouth by our supporters.
Over the last 2 plus years thousands of people responded to the challenges and donated time or goods, many for the first time.
- Hundreds of volunteers collected 5000 pairs of new and slightly used shoes in a shoe drive,
- Families made 4000 bag lunches one Sunday
- 45 people showed up to do wellness calls in one council district,
- Hundreds participated in our Layer Up warm clothing drive for the Boyle Heights Community of Schools
- Volunteers made food donations, phone calls to seniors, drove for meals on wheels, helped Chrysalis clients with job interview prep, and read to children.
Even in the time of covid when most in-person volunteer activities were unavailable, people still were willing to help.
What would our city be like if everyone did a little something to make it kinder, and easier for those in need?
Can we change our attitude citywide towards being of assistance to each other?
Yes we can. All we have to do is ask.