With the establishment of JustServe in Montrose, volunteer-minded people can now connect online with nonprofits and public entities that could use a helping hand.
“I feel like this is going to unify our community in unique and creative ways that can only be done through service,” Jill Barton, the JustServe head volunteer for the area, said. “I believe in this, so I’m willing to do it. I think it’s going to change our community for the best.”
JustServe.org is an online listing platform where organizations in need of help can post their volunteer opportunities and where people who want to volunteer can search for those opportunities. Nonprofits and public entities can list their needs and requirements on the site, which is searchable by ZIP code. The opportunities are accessible to anyone inclined to pitch in, not just community residents.
“It’s actually moving nationwide. If people come here from out of town, they can type in the ZIP of where they’re going and find somewhere to serve,” said Barton. “It’s a really big platform to get people involved in serving.”
The platform has also been launched in the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and South America.
The site on Monday listed about 60 opportunities within 25 miles of Montrose, for such work as housecleaning or yard work at Dolphin House Child Advocacy Center; Shepherd’s Hand’s daily hot lunch service at the Methodist Church; Haven House Transitional Living Center and Leadership Education Adventure Development Service (LEADS Serves).
“It’s really working out well and we’re grateful for it, grateful for the people that are helping out. We’re really happy they started becoming as active as they are,” Larry Fredericksen, co-founder of Haven House said.
Haven House offers transitional housing to single women and families for up to 18 months, with tailored support aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness.
JustServe will be recognizing Haven House following the Montrose Parade of Lights Dec. 7. The community is invited to come to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1521 S. Hillcrest Drive, to view the presentation at 7 p.m., which also honors Haven House Executive Director Rose Verheul.
The public can also bring by new or gently used jeans and new socks for a collection JustServes is gathering to help the needy.
JustServes doesn’t only connect people who want to volunteer in a traditional setting, such as for a nonprofit. It can be used to promote individual service opportunities, even by municipalities like Montrose that might want help with concert series or park cleanup.
Barton was set to meet with Montrose Assistant City Manager Ann Morgenthaler Monday to discuss possibilities.
“We’re all the time looking for volunteers, particularly for events like FUNCFest, the block parties, helping to set up parades, volunteers for the visitors center,” Montrose Mayor Dave Bowman said.
“I think this is a natural match for us to be involved with a web-based program to coordinate our needs with people who want to volunteer.”
By Barton’s estimate, there are 249 nonprofits in Montrose and she wants to reach them all. “We’re here to help you — what can we help you with?” she said.
“There are so many things people are good at that could totally help make a difference.There are so many good things coming from JustServes, it’s really making a difference,” Barton added.
The city is definitely interested, Bowman said.
“We absolutely want to learn more about it and get on this webpage and figure out how we communicate this webpage to the community so the community knows to go look for it. … We look forward to everyone in town working together,” he said.
Bowman also said JustServe stands to benefit nonprofits. “They’re always looking for help. I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
For more information, visit justserve.org.