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Posted on: December 11, 2023

How to Volunteer and Donate in the City

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Are you looking for a way to give back this holiday season or year-round? There is always a need for volunteers in the City of Chesapeake. Volunteers play a vital role in making our City an exceptional place to live, learn, work, farm, and play and Chesapeake offers opportunities for a variety of interests. Some departments that are always looking for added assistance are the Agricultural OfficeChesapeake Public LibraryHuman ServicesParks, Recreation and TourismAnimal Services, and Development and Permits. Certified volunteers will complete an application and background check prior to volunteering. 

Read on for some current volunteer opportunities and check back for more postings. Learn more on the official Volunteer webpage, or search volunteer opportunities on the City’s employment site. 

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer with Animal Services 

Do you love animals? Does finding homes for Chesapeake’s homeless pets matter to you? Become a volunteer at Chesapeake Animal Services! There are a variety of ways you can help out at our City’s only open admission shelter. Join the Canine Crew and walk and play with the pups! Join the Cat Crew and socialize our kittens and help to keep their spaces clean! Prefer something smaller? Join our small animal crew and help us socialize our smaller animals, such as Guinea pigs and rabbits! Want to help but don’t feel comfortable dealing directly with the animals? Join our back-of-house crew and help us keep the dishes clean and the laundry moving! To get involved, please submit your application online or email Animal Services for more information.

Join the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Disaster preparedness and immediate simple actions may save a life! Are you ready to take that next step to be trained as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Volunteer and make a difference in our community? CERT educates individuals about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT volunteers can assist others in their community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT volunteers are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking an active role in emergency preparedness projects. For more information and to apply, visit the CERT webpage.

Volunteer Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff

Are you interested in serving the community as an Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff? The Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary Deputy Corps is comprised of a group of law enforcement professionals who volunteer their time to serve the citizens of Chesapeake. They are individuals who have the following in common: dedication, professionalism, and a strong sense of community service. The Auxiliary Corps assists the Sheriff's Office in numerous ways, including security, traffic direction, and parking assistance at popular events in the CityThe staff of the Auxiliary Deputy Corps volunteer a minimum of 20 hours a month. On average, the Auxiliary provides approximately 9,000 hours of service to the citizens of Chesapeake each year. These hours consist of working assignments, attending training, attending meetings, and law enforcement conferences. For more information and requirements to join, please email Major W. Cartwright or call the Sheriff’s Office at 757-382-6159.

Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Are you passionate about children and their care? Join Human Services’ dedicated volunteers in the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAprogram. CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child who is before the court because of abuse or neglect. CASA volunteers meet with parties involved in the case, including the child, to gain insight on what actions would serve the child and help advocate on the child’s behalf. To get involved, please email Natasha Knight or call 757-382-8183Learn more about CASA in this episode of ‘peake Life.

Chesapeake Public Library Volunteers

Join the Chesapeake Public Library's volunteer events, program, and outreach team! As a certified City volunteer, you will assist Library staff in connecting with the public by sharing the resources and services they offer at one of their many community events and programs. Volunteers also help support the monthly Friends of the Library book sales. Training is available and opportunities are great for one-time and ongoing opportunities. To see current volunteer opportunities, please visit the Library’s website or email their team.

Medical Volunteers

Do you desire to support public health services? Then this might be the volunteer opportunity you have been waiting for! Chesapeake Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) is comprised of volunteers who are medical professionals and professionals from all fields who share their time and expertise with community members in public health emergencies. Volunteers assist in COVID and flu vaccination clinics, administration assistance, rabies clinics, local outreach events, and local family shelters. If anyone would like to volunteer, email Kayla Edwards or visit the Virginia Volunteer Health System website.

Invasive Special Removal Days – Keep Chesapeake Clean and Green!

Invasive Species Removal Days at the Chesapeake Arboretum are a fun way to spend time in nature, add physical activity to your day, and help improve tree health by removing invasive plant vines and tree species from our parks! Interested volunteers can call 757-382-6411email Parks, Recreation & Tourism, or sign up onlineVolunteers are also needed for clean-up and beautification projects throughout the year: Clean the Bay Day, Great American Clean-up, Adopt-A-Park/Adopt-A-Spot-in-a-Park, and Special Projects. To learn more about these programs, visit the Beautification and Cleanups webpage.

Sign Sweeper Program

Do you like volunteering, but prefer to do it at your own pace and convenience? Does keeping Chesapeake clean and beautiful matter to you? Join Development and Permit’s volunteer sign sweeper team! As a certified City volunteer, you will assist in the removal of illegal signs within the City’s right-of-way and medians. Temporary signs near roads are visible clutter and are a safety distraction to drivers. To get involved, please call 757-382-6101email the Department of Development and Permits, or visit the application site.  

Ways to Donate

Are you looking for ways to help your neighbors in need? The need for donations continually increases, and no contribution is too small. Read on for local donation opportunities. If you or someone you know is struggling to find access to housing, food, or other critical life resources, please visit the Chesapeake Thrives webpage or call 757-382-2489.

The Chesapeake We Care Resource Center

The Chesapeake We Care Resource Center is currently seeking new or gently used adult coats, jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, blankets, sleeping bags, and heavy socks. To donate, please call 757-937-8740. Their drop-off location is 1468 S. Military Highway, Suite 100, and items can be dropped off Mondays - Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Donations are appreciated year-round. The Chesapeake We Care Resource Center’s goal is to provide fundamental services, daily essentials, and various amenities to individuals facing a housing crisis. Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time for numerous reasons. To help ease worries and daily burdens for those in this difficult situation, the Resource Center connects people with ADA shower facilities, community laundry, lunch and dinner, computer access, housing application assistance, employment search assistance, lockers for personal belongings, and more. During the winter, the resource center will act as a CAST pick-up location.

Chesapeake Area Shelter Team (CAST)

Do you and your church or organization have a heart for helping people? The Chesapeake Area Shelter Team (CAST) is in need of churches to help provide emergency overnight shelter for those who are homeless during the upcoming winter 2023-24 season. Every year from November to April, Chesapeake churches, synagogues, mosques, and organizations open their doors to homeless families for nights of warmth, food, and support through the CAST program. Churches are ideal CAST hosts because they usually have the facilities needed, however any organization can host. Each week during the 2023-24 season, CAST hosts will provide a safe and warm facility that serves roughly 40 to 50 people breakfast, lunch, and dinner while providing shelter for seven days. If you’re interested in learning more or if you have a facility that may be able to host a week, please email Sam HowardCAST is especially in need of overnight volunteers and volunteers willing to help during the holidays. For more information, watch CAST's video on YouTube or visit Chesapeake's Housing page.

Chesapeake Public Library’s Little Free Pantry

It’s the season for giving! Are you looking for a way to give back to those in the community in a meaningful way? Donating to the Chesapeake Public Library’s Little Free Pantry at Central Library and Russell Memorial Library is a fantastic way to kick off the giving season while making a difference in someone’s life. The Little Free Pantry accepts a variety of donations including nonperishable food, baby needs, cleaning items, pet supplies, and personal hygiene products. This pantry is a year-round resource for individuals in need.

Some accepted donation items include:

Baby Needs:

  •  Formula
  •  Food
  •  Diapers
  •  Wipes

Cleaning Supplies:

  •  Toilet Paper
  •  Paper Towels
  •  Dish Soap
  •  Disinfectant Wipes
  •  Cleaners

Nonperishable Food:

  •  Peanut Butter
  •  Canned Foods
  •  Pasta Sauce
  •  Fruit Juice
  •  Cereal
  •  Dry Pasta, Beans, and Rice
  •  Crackers
  •  Boxed Meals

Personal Hygiene:

  •  Shampoo
  •  Body Wash
  •  Lotion
  •  Deodorant
  •  Toothbrush
  •  Toothpaste
  •  Feminine Hygiene Products

Pet Supplies:

  •  Dry Food
  •  Wet Canned Food
  •  Puppy Pads
  •  Litter
  •  Small Animal Bedding

For more information, please contact Central Library at 757-382-8301 or Russell Memorial Library at 757-382-1945.

Donate to the Chesapeake Animal Shelter

You can show your appreciation for the shelter and the animals in it by donating directly to Chesapeake Animal Services at 2100 S Military Highway. They will gladly accept toys, towels, blankets, newspapers, unopened kitten/puppy food, and aluminum cans and foil. The cans and foil are recycled for cash which directly contributes to the shelter’s medical fund. Another easy way to show your support is to like and share Chesapeake Animal Services’ Facebook posts!

If you are dedicated to helping pets find homes, you can sponsor an animal’s adoption through the Guardian Angel Program. This program is a way to save animal lives and help people experience the joy and unconditional love of pet ownership. You can fill out a donation form and mail it in or bring it to Chesapeake Animal Services, 2100 S. Military Highway. Interested in fostering a pet? Email the Outreach Coordinator or come in to the shelter to get the necessary waivers and forms to complete.

Love dogs? Love field trips? Chesapeake Animal Services has a tail-waggingly fun opportunity for you! The Snout and About Field Trip Fostering Program gives Chesapeake shelter dogs the chance to socialize outside of the shelter. A volunteer matches you with a shelter dog, provides you with supplies, and sends you out on a field trip. A leashed stroll in the park, a delicious lunch at a dog friendly restaurant (treat your pooch to a small pup cup or shaved ice – yum!), or a relaxing drive around town are just some ideas for those wishing to take a shelter dog Snout and About. Learn more on the City’s Snout and About webpage.

Local Food Pantries 

Visit the Buffalow Family and Friends website and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore website to learn how to donate funds, food, and time. Food donations are always needed and appreciated. You can find a list of food pantries at abbalist.org.

During the Summer – Plant a Row for the Hungry

Plant a Row for the Hungry, sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension ServiceChesapeake Master Gardeners, and the Garden Writers of America, is a summer program. It is designed to raise local food relief program awareness and to connect local gardeners with the opportunity to donate their excess produce to those facing hunger within the community. For those who do not garden, this program gladly accepts canned and boxed pantry items. All donations are tax deductible and go directly to our neighbors in need. As this opportunity approaches, dates and locations will be posted on Chesapeake’s various social media outlets. Now is a great time to start planning and prepping your garden!

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