April 8, 2009, The Economist — In a Manhattan park on March 31st the Unemployment Olympics took place. Participants competed in events such as the “Telephone Toss” and “Pin the Blame on the Bosses”. But other unemployed people are looking for charity work to occupy their time. Many non-profit organisations are seeing an increase in people looking to help. Even before the economic crisis, AmeriCorps, a programme which takes young volunteers for a year, was turning away two applicants for every one it accepted. Teach for America, which sends recent college graduates to teach in needy schools, saw 35,000 students apply for up to 4,000 openings this year. In February VolunteerNYC.org, New York’s public-service site, saw a 27% increase in visitors compared with a year ago.
April 6, 2009, Huffington Post — Michael Stoops says the recession is bringing out a volunteer spirit in America.
For the past few years, Carl Anglesea gave about $400 each year to charity. But he lost his job as a software developer in August, and since then Anglesea, 54, of Chuluota, Fla., hasn't given a dime. What he has done, though, is triple his hours as a volunteer AARP tax counselor helping people fill out tax forms. "I'd like to give cash, but I can't," he says. "So I'm committing to more hours as a substitute."
The move to expand the country’s national-service programs got a significant boost on Wednesday, when the House of Representatives adopted legislation to create an array of new volunteer projects and a Senate committee approved a similar measure.
According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies intend to hire 22 percent fewer college graduates this year compared to last year's class. In early reports from the NACE's study of 2009 graduating seniors due out in April, as many as 63 percent of students surveyed are concerned that the economy will negatively affect their job prospects.
President Obama's call to community service is getting a big boost from the recession. Applications are soaring at government-funded service programs, the stimulus package includes $200 million to boost those efforts and Congress is looking for more ways to expand opportunities to help others.