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Annual ‘volunteer drought’ not as severe for local nonprofits in 2021

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- Typically nonprofits see a steep decline in volunteer numbers after the holidays, but some local organizations say they don't expect the need to be as severe this year.

Employees at The Community Table said they had a record number of volunteers help with food prep last year, and have had a fully-booked volunteer scheduled since November.

The organization's director says recent trends have shown an increased need for volunteers every January, but this year they are completely booked through the end of the month, a surprising result during the pandemic.

"People were on Christmas break, they couldn't spend time with their families, and they are looking for places and things to do," said TJ Atkins, executive director of The Community Table. "I think that really attributed to the spike that we saw, but it was definitely different than any prior year."

However, Atkins says volunteer rates do often decline in February and throughout the summer, and she expects the same to occur this year.

Feed My People Food Bank says it also normally sees a volunteer decline after the new year, but because it has enforced pandemic protocols limiting the number of them in the facility, the need isn't as essential as if they were under full operation.

While both nonprofits say volunteers aren't scarce so far at their facilities, there may be other organizations in need, and encourage everyone to volunteer if possible.

Evan Hong

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