Dubuque hopes to resolve connection issues between organizations, volunteers

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – The multicultural family center is full of dolls, board games, bicycles and many other toys as it hosts the Toys for Tots drive this year, which distributes toys donated to families in need during the holiday season.

The effort, however, requires the help of more of Santa’s helpers than they currently have.

“We have five families that come every 30 minutes, so we like to have one volunteer per family to guide them and show them how to do it,” said Bryce Parks, who coordinates Toys for Tots. “Five volunteers in the morning, five in the afternoon over as many days, that’s a lot of volunteers you need, so we could definitely use that help. “

But city officials told KCRG-TV9 that there was not necessarily a lack of volunteers; it’s a connection problem. So, through the new online portal Volunteer DBQ, the city’s AmeriCorps program and the United Way Tri-States of the Dubuque region are trying to bridge the gap.

“This volunteer portal allows organizations to post their needs so that volunteers can connect to those needs,” said Sarah Berna, AmeriCorps coordinator. “And then our Dubuque citizens across the region can browse and research those volunteer needs and adapt to what they’re looking to give back. “

An annual grant from the Volunteer Iowa Generation Volunteer Fund of $ 29,799 enables the city to enhance the portal, which links the interest of volunteers with the needs of organizations and, in this way, frees up time and resources for the two.

“It really simplifies it for [the organizations], too, ”said Danielle Peterson, President and CEO of United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States. “They don’t have to take calls from interested people to see ‘Do you have an experience or not that matches my time or my needs as a volunteer?'”

The portal currently has approximately 100 organizations and 2,000 active users. Organizations looking for volunteers or people in the Dubuque area looking for volunteer opportunities are encouraged to visit the Volunteer DBQ portal here.

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