Volunteer | St. Louis Public Radio


Paul Granneman donates platelets Nov. 20 in St. Louis. The American Red Cross has said the need for blood donations is 'urgent.'
File Photo | Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have some St. Louisans asking: How can I help those who need support while I am at home? Even many volunteer opportunities have been canceled.

But there’s still a need for help. According to the state Department of Labor, 42,000 people in Missouri filed for unemployment last week.

Volunteers make no-sew blankets during the annual Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service in 2017.
Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service

While many in the St. Louis region will be opening presents on Christmas Day, a group of volunteers will spend the day giving back to the community. 

Volunteers got a chance to enjoy drinks and snacks and socialize while volunteering at Operation Food Search's December Rap N Pack event.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the food at Operation Food Search one evening last December was going to needy families.

Rather, some were appetizers to be paired with wine and beer and enjoyed by the volunteers at the University City-based food bank, as part of its "Rap N Pack" event that mixes socializing with volunteering.

Members of a Jewish and Muslim Teen Dialogue Group packed bags at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry last year.
Provided by Gail Wechsler

Jews and Muslims in St. Louis are hoping to bring a little extra Christmas cheer to their Christian counterparts this year.

For the fourth year, the groups will be hosting a Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service. The event has grown since it was implemented in 2010; more than 700 people are expected to show up to help.

Gail Wechsler, one of the Jewish co-chairs for the event, said that the day is all about helping St. Louisan who are in need of assistance.

Volunteers Clean Up River Des Peres Watershed

Oct 19, 2014
Chris Weiss and John Koch load tires into a trailer at Gravois Creek near Grant's Trail on Saturday, October 18, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

As water flows south through the River des Peres Watershed in St. Louis, trash, tires and metal gets deposited along the way. Over the weekend, hundreds of volunteers worked to pick up all that trash during the sixth annual cleanup called the River des Peres Trash Bash.

At Gravois Creek on Saturday morning, about a dozen volunteers stacked muddy tires into a trailer hitched to a four-wheeler.

Earlier, volunteers had fished the tires out of the creek using canoes. By mid-morning, volunteer Doug Geist estimated that they had collected more than twenty tires.

Discussion: The Role Of Civic Engagement In Missouri

Jan 23, 2014
(via Facebook/The Bridge St. Louis)

Original article published Saturday, January 18, 2013

Missourians are more likely to volunteer and to do favors for a neighbor than the average American. But their level of civic engagement depends greatly on their circumstances.

A new report on the state’s civic health, issued by six Missouri universities and the National Conference on Citizenship, found that Missouri largely aligns with the rest of the nation on community involvement.

Provided by Mrs. Dempsey

Dorothy Dempsey turned her thoughts Sunday to Martin Luther King by attending Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of St. Peter Claver.

The local branch of this Catholic fraternal organization turns out each year to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader who was born on Jan. 15, 1929, and assassinated on April 4, 1968, when he was 39.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 4, 2012 - For young professional transplants to the St. Louis area, the most perplexing question may not be “Where did you go to high school?” Instead, it may be asking themselves, “Who am I going to hang out with after work?”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri college students and staff are being asked to donate a weekend or a holiday this semester and take part in ongoing relief efforts in Joplin.

On May 22, the southwest Missouri city was devastated by a massive tornado that killed more than 150 people.  A campaign called “Show Me U Care” is recruiting groups of students, faculty and staff from college campuses across Missouri to travel to Joplin and help rebuild homes and provide other needs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2011 - It seemed like a small thing.

Last year, during the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, volunteers cleaned the bedrooms and bathrooms of teenagers staying at Youth in Need. The young people weren't at the St. Charles-based child and family services nonprofit, but signs of them were, like pairs of shoes and toothbrushes.

Bank of America helps students help others

Jul 22, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 22, 2011 - Students usually aren't rewarded for volunteer work, but some corporations want to change that attitude.

Bank of America's "Student Leaders" program is designed to match young people identified as tomorrow's leaders with agencies that can use their dynamic help. Locally, these range from St. Patrick Center to Nurses for Newborns.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 31, 2009 - Last week, I posted an interview with the editors of a new book about engaging young people. My intention was to shift the focus elsewhere early this week. But then came along this interesting study by the National Conference on Citizenship showing that volunteering has dipped during the economic downturn.

More specifically, the group’s annual America’s Civic Health Index, billed as the state of civic engagement in America, revealed that 72 percent of people who took part in the national survey said they cut back on time spent volunteering, participating in groups and doing other civic activities in the past year.

'Engaging Young People' (Part II)

Aug 26, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2009 -  Part two of the interview with Peter Levine, director of the The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), and James Youniss, a professor of psychology at the Catholic University of America. They are the co-editors of "Engaging Young People in Civic Life," a book out this month from Vanderbilt University Press (excertped from a phone interview):

Decline in national youth volunteer rate

Apr 23, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - In the same week that President Barack Obama signed into law a substantial increase in national service opportunities, there’s fresh evidence that volunteer rates have decreased nationally among high school-aged students. Just not in Missouri. However, according to the study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, far fewer of the state's college-aged students are giving their time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2009 - When state Sen. Jeff Smith, D-4th District, put out a call for volunteers to help him clean Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, he expected no more than 50, maybe 75, people to meet him at King and Union Boulevard at noon Monday.

"Over 275 showed up," an elated Smith said. "We had planned to clean up Martin Luther King only, but we got so many volunteers that we're doing Page, Natural Bridge, Goodfellow and Kingshighway."