ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The pandemic has put a hold on a lot of things, but now that New Mexico is starting to open back up, so are opportunities for people to help their community. The City of Albuquerque said there are a ton of local organizations that are in need of some extra help and organizations are eager for people to get back to volunteering.

The East Gate Church off Juan Tabo and Copper runs a food pantry. Volunteers help deliver the packages to cars outside. “It’s a very tiring job especially because you’re unloading boxes unloading a semi-truck full of food and then you’re repackaging it and redistributing it to the cars,” said the East Gate Church Quality and Support Director, Gabrielle Wheeler.

They’re one of many organizations on the City of Albuquerque’s volunteer website looking for extra help. “Yeah we have lots of pressing volunteer needs,” said CABQ Civic Engagement Coordinator, Nick Vottero. The City said volunteer work has been impacted by the pandemic. They said when facilities were forced to close, the need for staffing just wasn’t there but they hope it will soon bounce back.

“Now that we are starting to reopen and our county is moving more and more back to normal,” said Vottero. “The volunteer programs across the city really need more support.”

The City said they have at least 500 opportunities in everything from helping pack up PPE, to literacy programs, animal welfare and even baking cakes. The non-profit ‘For Goodness Cakes’ is looking for people to help bake cakes for foster and homeless kids. “It’s so special to take a couple of hours out of your day to help someone in your community and let them know how special they are and how happy you’re here and want to celebrate them,” said Brittany Puckett with For Goodness Cakes.

East Gate Church said using the City’s volunteer website helped save their food pantry from shutting down. “We had about 15 to 20 volunteers show up because of the ad,” said Wheeler. They hope locals can give up some of their time to give back to our community.

“The volunteer programs across the city really need more support,” said Vottero. “It’s really in line with the One Albuquerque mission; we’re all in this together, we’re all a part of this solution to make Albuquerque safer, more inclusive, more innovative city.”

If you want to volunteer but aren’t comfortable doing it in person, there are some opportunities to help out virtually.