When it comes to making a positive difference in San Francisco, it might take less effort than you think. If you direct a few hours and some energy to the right community service initiatives regularly, you can help many people in need, says Ash Gujral, who established the Gujral Community Fund to ensure safe homes for families to keep them in the city, as well as access to healthy food and activities.
The first step is deciding on volunteering and the second is choosing which community service organization you want to direct your energy to. There are many groups looking for a helping hand depending on your interests and skill set, and by joining them you add to their collective ability to help more people.
For example, Ash Gujral has supported a number of local causes close to his heart for decades. One of those community service organizations is the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center, which provides recreational and educational opportunities for people with disabilities. While you can donate money, the center also provides volunteering opportunities from administrative tasks to fundraising on your own schedule.
Volunteering Opportunities to Curb Hunger
The Free Farm Stand is a smaller organization that relies completely on volunteers to run properly. This community service strives to provide accessible and locally-grown produce to those with low incomes, as well as help people grow their own food. While the group may currently limiting volunteering as a way to follow physical distancing protocols, it is taking names to be contacted later when conditions change.
Meanwhile, the Gujral Community Fund also provides support to other community service initiatives in San Francisco that focus on providing healthy food, noting hunger causes physical, intellectual, and social barriers, says Ash Gujral. These groups include the SF-Marin Food Bank that is relied on by more than 200,000 people annually. It offers opportunities for volunteering either by boxing or bagging food items, as well as delivering them. The organization says you can also help by advocating for better government policies as well as providing monetary donations.
Helping The Isolated
Social isolation is a serious problem, especially for seniors, says Ash Gujral. It can cause a range of emotional and health issues, and raise risk of developing dementia. One of the community service organizations in the city called Little Brothers Friends of The Elderly puts volunteers in touch with the more than 25,000 seniors that live on their own in San Francisco. The group is currently seeking those interested in volunteering by calling a senior twice a week, or performing home visits if regulations allow.
Meanwhile, if you have musical talents, you might want to connect with Musicians On Call, which involves volunteering to play an instrument or sing to bedridden adults and seniors (as well as children) to lift spirits. If you don’t play music, you can be a guide that introduces musicians to patients in healthcare settings, and learns all the protocols to follow. You can also donate funds to help this community service deliver cheer.
While helping people, you can also help animals in the city by getting involved through the San Francisco SPCA (another group supported by the Gujral Community Fund), or Animal Care and Control.
Practice Community Service in Everyday Life, Says Ash Gujral
Without directly joining a community service, you can make a difference every day by donating clothing and books, and simply being kind to everyone including the homeless, who are especially affected during these times, according to Ash Gujral.