As doubtful as the statement sounds, I hesitated to believe the feasibility of the programme itself. Transitioning from a physical hands-on volunteering activity to a complete virtual experience was new, perhaps an adaptation towards the pandemic. How much of an impact would I get as a volunteer, I asked. With that in mind, are the effort and time invested in something influential towards the beneficiaries?
The best way to testify a statement, and certainly out of personal curiosity I eventually signed up for the Local Virtual Volunteer programme. The project I had chosen was Clean Our Plate which aligns with SDG12. The project primarily aims to raise awareness of household food waste. Here are some of the highlights from the 4-week experience:
One of the activities was conducting crowdfunding virtually. As volunteers, guidance by external partners from GivingHub was provided by setting up a personal crowdfunding landing page that supports the relevant project of choice. We were equipped with different learning resources to enhance personal digital presence while raising awareness of the social cause of the participating project.
2. J for Jams
Repurposing fruit peels into jam and blending it with some spice – honey, ginger, and cinnamon. For every jar sold, a portion of the revenue goes to the funding to purchase food supplies for the underprivileged communities. Besides, a total of 25 jars were sold in the span of 2 weeks in conjunction to Chinese New Year season. The most challenging part was nonetheless having to cook the jams in batches as I absolutely overestimated the capacity of a home kitchen!
Utilizing this project as a “trial-and-error” platform to experiment with scratch cooking, marketing content, and resource hunting. The feedback from customers had definitely helped in improving the product quality from batch to batch.
Steps for Jam Making
- Slice orange into ⅛ pieces and separate the flesh and fruit.
- Dice the fruit and chop the peel into thin slices.
- Prepare a pot / non-stick pan, fill in with water. (~1 cup for 1 orange).
- Allow orange peels to be cooked and softened in boiling water under low heat.
- Add in the orange flesh after peels are softened, use a cooking spatula to squeeze out the orange juice from the fruit.
- Use an immersion blender to blend through the pan, allowing the fruit and peels to be blended into a “mushy” solution.
- Add in sugar and other ingredients to elevate your jam ! (I had added cinnamon powder, honey & ginger)
- Continue to simmer the jam at low heat, the solution thickens as water evaporates.
- Jam is ready to be served once the orange solution is observed to be paste (or “spreadable”). Store it in an airtight container and place in the fridge.
You can check out the video for jam making process here. Feel free to have a try out at home too! 🙂
3. Podcast Recordings
Being part of a supportive team for a round table, we held discussion on key topics and recorded as a podcast. As volunteers, we gained insights from external partners and shared perspectives as youth. It was definitely a safe space to bounce ideas and brush up on conversational skills.
Just as with any projects or opportunities in the market, the real drill comes after the event itself. A starting point towards a change was gained by being a volunteer. Easier said than done, change does not happen overnight. It comes down to the details integrating as part of our life: mindset change, acknowledging consequences and habit building. Small changes every day, is still an accumulative impact.
Hence, an answer for myself: Yes, it is possible to volunteer virtually; it’s a meaningful project for individuals who wish to contribute something purposeful to the local community.