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How to be a bank activist: Save the planet with Jane Fonda, be a digital friend and chat with someone happy

When the NHS released its recent call for volunteer aid workers, over half a million people volunteered in the first 24 hours.

The administrators even had to close the site while processing those who wanted to offer their services.

But what if you have time, skills and a desire to do your bit but can’t or don’t want to leave home? Here are the ways you can make a real difference now, all from the comfort – and safety – of your own sofa …

These are the ways you can make a real difference now, all from the comfort - and safety - of your own sofa

These are the ways you can make a real difference now, all from the comfort – and safety – of your own sofa

Lend an ear

It is estimated that 4,000 neighborhood initiatives have now taken action in response to the pandemic, with volunteers staying in touch via WhatsApp or Facebook.

They ensure that the elderly are not too lonely and that groceries and medicines are delivered.

How to get involved: Go to covidmutualaid.org and enter your zip code to find details of your nearest neighborhood group. You can sign up for services to answer calls to your phone from people who need help nearby, or who want advice, or just a chat to avoid loneliness.

To further spread your network, become a volunteer for ‘check-in and chat’ for the British Red Cross at goodsamapp.org. Anyone who is isolated can choose to be a telephone companion.

Or visit royalvoluntary service.org.uk and look for volunteer opportunities for telephone guidance.

Special skills required: a willingness to chat.

Be a beauty banker

Some people have a hard time paying for basic personal care.

Beauty professionals Jo Jones and Sali Hughes establish Beauty Banks to donate essential products to food banks, homeless centers, shelters and schools, for example.

How to get involved: During the pandemic, you can donate to buy soap, hand sanitizer, and more for people who can’t make it through the crisis at gofundme.com/helpinghands-for-covid19. You can also search Beauty Banks’ wishlist on easho.org.uk to buy bundles for those in need.

While the organization does not currently accept product donations from the public due to safety concerns, there is no better time to find items to donate in the future.

Go to beautybanks.org.uk and download a starter package for private bankers. Then, tidy up your bathroom cabinet and encourage everyone in your family to do the same. Everything from shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrushes to deodorant, disposable razors, sanitary towels, facial cleansing and makeup can be donated as long as the item has not been used.

When you send the team your zip code, they will identify a charity in your area to which you can donate directly.

Special skills required: a packaged bathroom cabinet.

Join Jane Fonda

The pandemic seems to have temporarily calmed the discussion about climate change, but actress Jane Fonda is working with Greenpeace to raise awareness

The pandemic seems to have temporarily calmed the discussion about climate change, but actress Jane Fonda is working with Greenpeace to raise awareness

The pandemic seems to have temporarily calmed the discussion about climate change, but actress Jane Fonda is working with Greenpeace to raise awareness

The pandemic seems to have temporarily calmed the discussion about climate change, but actress Jane Fonda has teamed up with Greenpeace to raise awareness.

The 82-year-old led protests of civil disobedience to fire drills in the United States on Friday in response to the school strikes of Fridays For Future, a teenage campaign by Greta Thunberg. The name is a reference to Thunberg’s environmental alarm call: “Our house is on fire!”

Fonda urges people all over the world to be online every week for a virtual fire drill on Friday to keep the environmental crisis ahead.

She posted a practice video, like the one she made in the 1980s, on the social network TikTok, urging fans to register their support.

How to get involved: Visit firedrillfridays.com for more information. Enter your email address in the ‘Sign up’ tab to learn more about ways to get involved.

You can also follow Fire Drill Fridays on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date with teach-ins (instead of the usual sit-ins) and see celebrity performances every Friday.

Special skills required: strong feelings about saving the planet.

Share technical skills

Age UK calls on volunteers to donate their time to one of more than 130 local centers across the country to help the elderly stay connected, access vital services and pursue online hobbies.

How to get involved: Complete the volunteer application form at ageuk.org.uk and watch the eight-minute video to learn how you can help older people get the most out of technology. Your local Age UK office will be in touch if you need assistance.

Or you can only work by explaining the benefits of online tools like Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp to older people you interact with. You can also offer to help them find items they may need online.

You can teach them how to subscribe to Mail + so they can read their favorite newspaper on a phone or tablet. They just need to search for Mail + in the Apple App Store or Google Play on Android devices or go to mailplus.co.uk.

Special skills required: An understanding of social media and the Internet.

Go worldwide

Even if you don’t leave the house, modern technology means you can still give your help to charities around the world.

How to get involved: Visit onlinevolunteering.org/en, a UN-backed organization that aims to help volunteers from many fields work together to tackle global challenges.

Volunteers can choose from up to 300 online tasks at 3,000 organizations by clicking on ‘Browse all opportunities’.

Many tasks are Covid-19 related and require skills such as writing and proofreading, art and design, technology development, research, administration and teaching.

Special skills required: this is tailored to your own skills.

Offer your sight

The blind and visually impaired can struggle with simple tasks such as checking due dates or reading instructions.

The Be My Eyes charity connects volunteers around the world with people who need help and may be isolated in their homes to solve big or small tasks.

How to participate: Go to bemy eyes.com and download the free app, which provides visual assistance through a video call.

Special skills required: good vision.

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