Finding places to give 20 hours a month is going to be a challenge. I've found some great community organizations locally, but I quickly realized that if I want to keep my job (I do), I may need some volunteer hours with flexibility. I had read recently about micro volunteering, which is a way to recruit volunteers to do very simple tasks that help an organization, often from home. Things like FreeRice.com and other needs a simple click to give (which basically funnel advertizing dollars to a charity). Many groups want help signing petitions, "spreading the word," etc.
I was wondering if there would be any version of micro volunteering that could fit into my project, which is how I ran across Help from Home. This is a clearing house of micro-volunteering projects, some of which require little more than a click, and other range to about 30 minutes of work. There are feed the children projects, clothe the poor projects, save the environment projects. It's all over the place. I might have to ask my grandmother to teach me to knit again so I can help make scarves for women in homeless shelters.
This morning I ran across a very interesting website that facilitates putting prisoners letters online. The letters are all scanned to be viewed as images, but when the images are transcribed, they can be found by search engines. Comments left online are mailed to prisoners. I transcribed a letter from a prisoner reflecting on the death of Hugo Chavez and his interest in anarchism. He said "you are the only one who can speak for yourself." The irony of writing this in a forum that is created to give voices to the voiceless was not lost on me. There is some scary stuff on this blog, but ignoring human suffering doesn't make it go away. Prisoners were not a group I had imagined finding a way to help, but this seems like an important and interesting opportunity.