Ready to make an impact to help vulnerable neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The most important thing we can all do in this unprecedented time is to help our most vulnerable neighbors (as well as ourselves) by staying home, staying safe, and practicing social distancing to “flatten the curve.” In an effort to inspire acts of assistance with even greater impact, members of the technology community have teamed up to form #Tech4TR—an alliance to help our most vulnerable neighbors through Team Rubicon’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative.
Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. Since its founding in 2010, Team Rubicon has deployed to over 500 events in regions hard hit by natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey and Dorian.
Now Team Rubicon has leveraged that strength and pivoted to provide volunteers and resources in regions across the nation in response to COVID-19. While Team Rubicon’s volunteer ranks include tens of thousands of veterans, they also include emergency first responders and dedicated civilians.
How is Team Rubicon Helping?
In this very challenging time, our most vulnerable neighbors need us more than ever. People are isolated and scared. Americans in higher health risk groups are concerned about going to stores to shop for food. Single parents with small children struggle to get out to get prescriptions. Homeless men and women need safe, sanitary shelters. Team Rubicon certified volunteers—called “greyshirts”—are helping to address all of these needs and more.
Here are some examples of what Team Rubicon and their greyshirt volunteers are doing:
- Working with hunger relief organization Feeding America to sort and distribute tons of food.
- Building and staffing temporary hospital overflow facilities and shelters.
- Operating COVID-19 testing stations.
- Providing logistical and call center support for health agencies.
In order to inspire additional communities to assist in the pandemic, Team Rubicon established the #NeighborsHelpingNeighbors initiative to meet a wide range of community needs through safe individual acts of service.
Following protocols, you can stay safe and maintain social distance while helping vulnerable neighbors and community members remain in their homes through actions such as:
- Delivering food, prescriptions, and supplies.
- Mowing lawns and walking dogs.
- Providing transportation assistance.
Many needs are right in your neighborhood—and people seeking assistance are currently using neighborhood hub app and online service Nextdoor and Facebook Communities to alert Team Rubicon. Some people just need some contact—a phone call, a knock on the door, or a distance check-in from behind a glass door 6 feet away. These are all safe acts of service that make a difference and provide welcome relief from feelings of isolation. In addition to volunteering, you can also help by making a donation to Team Rubicon.
I have the privilege of working with our teams at Wipfli to drive the digital transformation of Team Rubicon. The technology community sees immense value in supporting the Team Rubicon initiative. We have come together to challenge each other to be good neighbors, to volunteer, and to donate.
How can you get involved?
I encourage you and your organization to get involved with Neighbors Helping Neighbors right now by heading to the Tech4TR portal. To hear more about this program on how to get engaged, view this recording from our kickoff, “Volunteer to Help Your Neighbors: Team Rubicon’s COVID-19 Initiative.”
CNN also broadcast a great piece about Team Rubicon and Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Check it out: “CNN Heroes: Team Rubicon’s COVID-19 Response.”
Ryan Risley is a Team Rubicon “greyshirt” volunteer as well as Partner and CTO of Wipfli LLP, where he leads the firm’s CIO Advisory Practice. He is the ATF Advocacy Advisor for Voices for Innovation and serves as the Americas advocacy chair of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP). He is the president emeritus of the IAMCP’s Washington D.C. chapter, an Eagle scout, and the doting husband of Elizabeth.