Volunteer, in the time of COVID-19

Meet people, have fun, do good.

Volunteering with the PNA brings people together to enrich lives and bring joy, laughter, and fun into the community. Many people find meaning and their place in the PNA through volunteering with us.

In this time of COVID-19, we are even more aware of the need of personal connection, building community and neighbors helping neighbors, all while taking precautions to keep us all safe and healthy.

Many PNA programs and events have been canceled through the summer, limiting our current volunteer opportunities. We will post and update special opportunities on this page, as we determine how we can best serve our community while keeping everyone safe.

COVID-19 Information & Updates Page


Volunteer with the PNA, in the time of COVID-19 and physical distancing

(updated 8.20.20)


Help our Senior Neighbors | Board of Directors* | Eagle Eyes** | Homemade Mask Drive* | Hot Meal Program Assistant Mow for a Senior** | Pen Pal Project* | Plant Care** | One-on-One Tech Mentor* | Teach a Class, Virtually* | Tech Support for Virtual Events* | Tool Library | Tutor a Kid* | Vegetable Gardener** | Weekly Waterer**

*can participate from your home

**limited in-person interactions

PNA Board of Directors

The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) is seeking candidates for its Board of Directors and we would love to hear from you.

We are looking for community members who are passionate about the PNA’s mission to build community, and who are excited to envision and strategize organizational change/programmatic transformation to respond to the pandemic as well as our accelerated effort to become a more diverse and inclusive organization by bringing an equity lens to all that we do. We are looking for people with backgrounds in organizational change/change management toward diversity, equity and inclusion; law; nonprofit management; finance; and/or fundraising. The PNA needs board members who understand or have a lived experience that can inform our work in diversity, equity and inclusion. People of color and those representing the diversity of our community are encouraged to apply.

Board members serve 1 to 3 year terms, starting in January, and generally spend 5 to 8 hours per month on board and committee business and supporting activities. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; preference for the 2021 term will be given for candidates who apply by September 30, 2020.

During these times of distancing, meetings are virtual. We look forward to resuming in-person meetings when we can safely gather.

Want to learn more or sign up? Send an email.

Hot Meal Program Assistant

In this time of COVID-19 and mandated physical distancing, the PNA is *still* working to provide hundreds of meals each week to seniors, people without stable or permanent housing and others in need. Our typical beloved meal program was temporarily reconfigured to distribute only to-go meals, minimizing the time of close interactions between diners, volunteers and staff, and allowing diners to wash/sanitize their hands before eating. Now that we’re in Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start process, we are also able to offer seating, and are figuring out how to best serve our clients while keeping everyone safe.

Volunteers are needed to help prepare, set up, serve and clean up to-go meals for people in need. Dinner on Monday and Tuesday evenings, lunch on Wednesdays.

HMP Volunteers in the time of COVID-19 must:

  • be healthy!
  • be at least 14 years old and preferably younger than age 65 (Stay Home, Stay Safe!)
  • complete our volunteer application. Please be sure to include a valid phone number so we can keep you informed of any last minute changes.
  • in possession of a valid WA food worker card (available for $10 online here), and
  • pass a background check (download our release & submit here (via our secure document upload).

***Please keep in mind many of our diners are seniors and/or otherwise medically vulnerable. If you have any reason to believe you might have a cold/flu/illness of any flavor, or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please choose a different volunteer opportunity.***

How are we keeping our volunteers, staff & diners safe?
Meals are prepared in our closed-to-the-public commercial kitchen by vetted volunteers and staff. Physical distancing mandates are respected during food prep and meal services, and masks must be worn by staff, volunteers and diners (when not eating).  Handwashing stations are provided for diners and surfaces are continuously sanitized.  We provide aprons, reusable fabric masks and disposable gloves for all volunteers (though you’re welcome to bring in your own aprons and masks).  All food-prep and dining surfaces are sanitized before and after use, and seating has been modified to allow for distance between diners.  At this time, all seating is outdoors.  Volunteers, staff and diners must pass a temperature check upon entry, and wash/sanitize their hands.

One of our meal sites is a 20-bed shelter for men without permanent housing to allow them to “shelter in place”. To minimize the number of contacts for this medically vulnerable group, volunteers do not have access to the residents’ sleeping area or restroom facilities and residents do not have access to our kitchen facilities (separated by walls and doors). Volunteers and staff will use a separate set of restrooms.

Additionally, we have (homemade) masks for our volunteers to use while preparing, setting up and serving our meals. We ask each volunteer to take home their mask post-shift to launder and bring it back for use the following week.

Thank you for helping us to keep our neighbors fed!

Tool Library

We’re looking forward to reopening our popular Tool Lending Library, and are in the process of figuring out how to make it a safe and sustainable community space.  Tool Library will open Saturdays from 9 to 11 am and expand as our volunteer staff and demand increase.  Volunteer opportunities are available both on-site and remotely.

Want to learn more or sign up?  Send an email.

Tech Support for Virtual Events

Are you having fun with Facebook Live?  Or have some expertise with building interactive websites?  As we continue to move more of our events online, we are in need of volunteers to help us strategize, design and build our platforms to provide an easy (and pretty) experience for our members and attendees.

Want to learn more or sign up? Send an email.

Teach a Class or Workshop, Virtually

Share your passion or knowledge with a virtual audience.  We’re looking for volunteers with something to share with our senior center participants over Zoom. Past offerings have included presentations on Bone Health, Walking the El Camino Trail, Folk Dancing and How to Use Zoom.

Want to learn more or sign up? Send an email.

Plant Care

Is caring for (indoor) plants therapeutic for you? Help us care for our indoor plants, and regularly water and love them. Weekly at the Phinney Center.

Want to learn more or sign up? Send an email.

Eagle Eyes

Do you enjoy long walks in the neighborhood? Or even medium-length ones? Maybe you’re out to walk your dog anyway? Consider walking through one of our campuses!

With so many staff working remotely, the PNA is looking for volunteers to regularly walk through the Phinney Center and/or Greenwood Senior Center to help us keep an eye on things. No interaction (or confrontation needed/requested, and anything of interest would be reported to our Facilities Team.

Want to learn more or sign up? Send an email.

Help a (Working) Parent in Need

Do you have an hour or so each week to help a student with their homework or explore a specified subject matter? Maybe help them learn a new skill or support them on a project? Or even just read aloud to them? All from the comfort of your own home!

We are looking for volunteer tutors and mentors to help with Back to Virtual School! You get to decide which subjects and grade levels you’d be interested in helping to support and we match you up with one kid (or more!). And, from the viewpoint of this (tired) working parent, provide some respite for parents from their energetic and inquisitive child!

Participants must provide their own device and internet connection, commit to at least an hour per week for 6 months or so for each student, and coordinate a meeting time and platform with the kiddo’s parents. Volunteers should be at least 14 years old, and we are especially looking for people with lots of life experience to help.

Want to learn more?  Send an email.  Sign up page coming soon 🙂

Mask Maker

Mask-maker, mask-maker make me a mask. Washable fabric, one mask per task. Well, not really, but it rhymes. 🙂

Volunteers needed to make reusable (washable) cloth masks for our teachers, meal and delivery volunteers, seniors, members, staff and community.  Please bag masks individually and include care instructions.  We will assume your masks will fit an average adult, unless marked “child” or “large.”  Drop off at the Phinney Center by appointment, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 3 pm (limited or no-contact available).  Extra masks will be distributed through our friends at the Seattle Mask Brigade.  Check out their homemade mask resources here.

Learn more about the CDC recommendations for Face Coverings


Mask Prep

Want to help with the efforts to provide homemade masks but you don’t sew?  Or maybe you don’t have the bandwidth to filter through the many different patterns?  Help by cutting fabric for others to sew!  Each mask uses 1 x full piece (or 2 x “half” pieces) fabric and 4 x straps.

MASK FABRIC: Fabric cut into 9″ x 12″ rectangles (or 2 “half” pieces of 9″ x 6″).  The CDC recommends “tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets.” Please wash fabric prior to cutting.  Children’s size masks = 7.5″ x 10″ (or two “half” pieces 7.5″ x 5″).  Note, “half” pieces need not be same material.

STRAP FABRIC: Old t-shirts cut into 1/2″ wide strips (4 x ~ 18″ strips per mask). A good way to do it is to cut across the body of the tshirt, which will give you a long loop, which can then be cut into 2 pieces. You can use scissors or lay on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter.

Pen Pal Project

Help us connect with each other in this isolating time!  Seeking kids (and their families) to write letters to local seniors, and seeking local seniors to write back!  Kids get to learn the art of letter writing, and seniors get a “wireless” connection.  And both may make a friend!  Learn more and sign up here.


One-on-One Tech Mentors

Use your mad skillz to teach seniors and others how to use their smart phones, tablets and laptops – on the phone or via video conferencing!

The Greenwood Senior Center receives requests for help and passes on the opportunities to our tech mentor volunteers. The ideal volunteer has phone calling and video conferencing capabilities, and is able to communicate clearly with people less familiar with the technology.  Background check required & 6-month commitment requested. Great for high school students looking for an ongoing position.



Mow for a Local Senior

Have a mower and want to help a local senior?  Volunteers needed to bring their mower and cut the lawns of local seniors, ideally 1-2 times per month, between May and July (or whenever the grass stops growing for the season).


Garden at the Greenwood Senior Center

The Greenwood Senior Center’s vegetable and herb garden is planned, planted and maintained by a team of volunteers. Led by key volunteers with extensive gardening experience, our team produces vegetables and herbs used in the GSC’s daily lunch program. The GSC raised beds are located at both the GSC (525 N 85th St). Weekly maintenance and watering volunteers needed, May through September.  Distancing measures in place to minimize risk.


Host a Drive for our Hot Meal Program

Let’s prove physical isolation is not the same as social isolation!  Call on your friends, family, neighbors and others in your social networks to start up a collection and support our neighbors in need of a meal.  Donation options here.

Or buy items on our Amazon wish list for our Hot Meal Program.  Our HMP has been temporarily reconfigured to distribute to-go meals, and we are in need of to-go supplies – boxes, utensils, water and more.  Select the “PNA-HMP” delivery address.  If you want to purchase a gift card for food items that Amazon won’t let us put on the wish list (like hand sanitizer!), use the email address [email protected]  Thank you!

Questions?  Email us.


Adopt a Senior (or Two) with the PNA Village

Help our seniors “Stay Home & Stay Safe,” by delivering meals and/or groceries, picking up prescriptions, helping with yardwork, walking the dog, and checking in. Aside from getting to help Gramma, the beauty of this volunteer gig is the flexibility – you get to select which opportunities work for you.

Volunteers are thoroughly vetted so you can help our members on-on-one, and in usual-times in the member’s home.  In light of physical distancing mandates, and reducing the risks to both our members and volunteers, volunteers must be healthy to serve, and are limited to the following:

  • Grocery shop, pick up groceries ordered online, or pick up prescriptions.
  • Deliver prepared meals.
  • Order groceries online for a member.
  • Yardwork or other outside projects.
  • Laundry (must be taken to volunteer’s home).
  • Social phone calls
  • Visiting outside in the fresh air (at least 6 feet apart).

Additionally, our intake process has been modified during this time of physical distancing.  All in-person volunteer trainings through April are canceled.

To get started,

  1. Read (not skim!) our PNA Village Volunteer Manual.  Please also read our volunteer guidelines for COVID screening and grocery shopping.
  2. Complete our volunteer application and be sure to select “PNA Village” under Volunteer Opportunities; background check release form; confidentiality agreement and references form.
  3. Schedule a phone call by emailing our Village staff to discuss how volunteering with us works & answer any questions. We will also ask you questions to make sure you have read and understand our Manual and Guidelines.
  4. Submit your release form & references via our secure document upload here.
  5. Once we’ve processed your paperwork, we will email you to get you started (we’re currently looking at a 1-2 week turnaround).

Thank you for your interest, and your patience with us as we figure out how to keep serving our neighbors while keeping our members, volunteers and staff safe and as we figure out how to work exclusively via remote (and many of us, with kids at home!).  We are so fortunate to have received a significant number of inquiries, and feel great comfort in the love and support we’ve received from you.  We look forward to working with you now, and when we can be within six feet of each other.

Thank you for helping us make sure physical distancing does not result in social distancing.

Volunteer Application Background Check Release Form


Submit Forms Securely


To learn about our volunteer opportunities once physical distancing is no longer a safety requirement, check out our ongoing opportunities here.  Most of these positions are not currently available.  Thank you for your interest and understanding!