We are all worrying our way through COVID-19 pandemic America, most of us with only minor inconvenience.

Some of us are so fortunate in America. We live in roomy, warm houses; sleep in warm beds; wear warm clothing; and drive heated vehicles. We have more than enough food, as well as many conveniences to enhance our daily lives.

But too many among us have it worse than ever.

COVID-19’s pandemic tentacles wreak havoc in multiple ways. The damage is not confined to the COVID-19 victims and those close to them.

As available employment shrinks and shuts down, people are suddenly without jobs. As they lose their means of income, their capacity to maintain themselves and families fades fast. Their ability to pay their monthly bills, to maintain their houses or pay their rent disappears. They lose the ability to transport themselves. They don’t have enough to secure or maintain adequate health care. They are forced to choose between food or heat or medicine, without enough for any.

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We have established nationwide fundraising and large facilities for cancer, muscular dystrophy, St. Jude's Children’s Hospital and others.

But, we also have myriad needs for far too many right here in Echoland.

Every January, nonprofits brace for a seasonal lull in donations and offers of help to drive, sort, pack and perform other tasks volunteers do in most years.

Nonprofits have also geared down or closed down because of COVID-19. Volunteers have stopped showing up because of fears of COVID, particularly us seniors who are more susceptible to complications of COVID-19.

Minnesota nonprofits that closed and halted volunteer shifts because of COVID-19 are now re-opening or increasing their program operations. As a society, and locally, we need to resume and step up our volunteer involvement accordingly.

Our local church has an interesting volunteering challenge coming up. Grace United Methodist and our Savior’s Lutheran in Pequot Lakes have challenged each other as to which can gather the most dollars and selected food items from Feb. 17-March 21 for our local food shelf. The losing church agrees to provide the winning church with an ice cream social come summertime.

Let’s look to new and different projects like this.

As vaccinations and other safety assurances increase, we can increase doing the helpful things we “paused on” because of COVID.

Let’s phase back, up and over in making an extra effort in dollars donated and hours expended in volunteering for whatever charitable activity we each can do best.