Area nonprofits hope to garner interest at Volunteer Expo in Green Bay

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Finding volunteers has been challenging for nonprofits since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“We’re kind of in the same situation as other nonprofits,” Suzanne Wittman, the Women’s Empowerment Center Director for the YWCA told Local 5. “Just trying to get people to come and volunteer has been difficult. People don’t want to come out, so it’s been a challenge.”

Eric Sponholtz, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Brown County, says the past year and a half has been a difficult time for nonprofit organizations.

“We’ve seen a major uptick in the need for volunteers across all these organizations,” he explains. “And it’s really important for people to know that these organizations day in and day out are doing vital work for the community.”

Sponholtz spoke to Local 5 in the lobby of the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay as the annual Volunteer Expo got underway Thursday.

About 50 local organizations set up booths at the event to share their missions with the public.

“That’s part of the reason that they’re here,” Sponholtz said of the nonprofit organizations, “to find folks that are interested in what they’re doing, interested in their mission and how they can give back.”

The YWCA was one of the organizations vying for attention at the expo.

“So far, so good,” Wittman says. “There are people visiting and dropping by, and we’re talking to some people, so hopefully they’ll be people who will be able to come and help us.”

Last year’s Volunteer Expo was held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“That virtual aspect is always a little bit tougher, but it’s been great for us to get back in person,” Sponholtz adds, “and the organizations really appreciate it as well.”

Carmen Lax, Director of NEW Scholars for College Ready, told Local 5 that she enjoyed attending the expo in-person.

“It is so wonderful to see everybody and to share stories and to collaborate,” she says. “Essentially we’re here for the community, and it’s great to be able to partner and all work together.”

Working together to move past the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

“While they always do need the help, it’s really been magnified with the pandemic,” Sponholtz explains. “So this is a good opportunity for people to come out and have that face-to-face interaction.”


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