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Like many of you, I have been working from home the last several weeks and staying in as much as possible. This has probably led to several “firsts” for you, like it has for me. We had our first remote Easter dinner, with my parents joining us via FaceTime. That was followed by a remote Easter egg hunt on Google Duo with my parents and my niece and nephew from Omaha. I have even resorted to cutting my own hair (poorly) for the first time. I am sure there are a few things you have had to do for the first time as well.

While life has come to a halt for many during this pandemic, there are things we can do to help our fellow Iowans. Governor Kim Reynolds reminded us during her daily press conference on April 10 that the need for volunteers is only increasing. I would like to take this opportunity to echo the governor’s call for Iowans to find safe, responsible ways to help our neighbors in this time of crisis.

Volunteer Iowa, our state service commission, has a list of COVID-19 related volunteer opportunities available on their website, www.volunteeriowa.org. They offer a wide array of options, with many as simple as making face masks or writing letters of appreciation to the staff at long-term care facilities to thank them for their critical work during this pandemic.

I also encourage Iowans in the Des Moines metro area to visit the United Way of Central Iowa’s website, www.unitedwaydm.org, to find opportunities to contribute money, time, or talents to help people in our community. Our state is leveraging the United Way’s 211 phone line to connect Iowans with questions about COVID-19 to trained health care professionals. This is filling a critical need.

It is no surprise that Iowans are looking for ways to help their communities during troubling times. It is in our DNA. If you want to help your fellow Iowans but do not know what to do, check out the sites I listed. I am sure you will find something there to both fill your time and make a difference. Maybe you can even find an activity that will be another “first” for you.

Author: Charles Schneider

Senator Charles Schneider was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2012, and was re-elected in 2016. Senator Schneider’s peers have elected him to a leadership position since 2014. Before his election to the Iowa Senate, Senator Schneider served on the West Des Moines City Council from 2007 to 2012. He chaired the council’s Finance and Administration Subcommittee and served on the council’s Public Safety Subcommittee. Senator Schneider is also counsel for Principal Financial Group, where he has worked since 2007. Before joining Principal, he was a lawyer with the law firm of Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen, PC.