Ohio News Connection

Ohioans sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic have an opportunity to help contribute to the solution.

The AmeriCorps VISTA program is looking for associates to assist with the summer meal program for children, as well as its year-long service program.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks runs the program, and its director of community services, Maureen Allen, says VISTA members are needed now more than ever.

“Our anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations are on the front lines responding to this crisis now and over the long-term,” she states. “A lot of agencies have lost their core volunteer base and so national service members will be a critical component to getting nonprofits and communities back on their feet and functioning. ”

Summer associates help serve children free and reduced-price meals, prepare enrichment activities and recruit volunteers.

Associates in the yearlong program help to address the issues of food insecurity, financial literacy, college readiness and the needs of refugee communities.

Many VISTA members are young adults. However, Allen notes the program accepts applications from anyone who feels a calling to serve.

“Retirees who’d like to stay in the workforce and anyone that’s looking for professional experience or to get back in the game this is a great opportunity for them,” she points out. “If you want to launch a new career and see if the nonprofit world or community service is for you this is great stepping stone.”

About 70 positions are available for the summer program, and 40 for the year-long program. Learn more online at Ohiofoodbanks.org/programs.