Voluntary Reaction

A Whitman-based organization is seeking help with its phone bank endeavors to provide COVID-19, census, and primary election information to the community.

VietLead, 320 Oregon Ave., is a non-profit grassroots organization serving Philadelphia and South Jersey’s Asian community. It seeks to “cultivate, inspire, lead, and create community.” Executive director Nancy Nguyen and her colleagues have been especially busy recently addressing a trio of issues: the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. census, and presidential primaries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

To expand its outreach efforts, the group is looking for volunteers to assist with making phone calls at phone bank sessions held each Saturday. Volunteers are trained to reach out to the community and share information and resources.

According to the VietLead head, 58 percent of those receiving calls have limited English proficiency. Therefore, her organization is looking for people adept at Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer, Indonesian, and Spanish. Vietnamese and Spanish are the languages most in demand.

“The coronavirus dilemma has obviously led to significant worries within our communities, especially due to unemployment, which has skyrocketed,” Nguyen explained. “It’s been rough to hear about the suffering of so many people, so letting them know that they can consult someone and learn about resources drives us because there’s never been a more crucial time to encourage and guide people.”

Nguyen, a West Passyunk resident, said VietLead has benefited from assistance from eight organizations, including SEAMACC, 1711 S. Broad St. “Thousands of people are in need, and it’s been so heartening that we have had great input and support from so many organizations,” she said. “Going forward, through the combination of COVID-19 information, census tutelage and primary explanations, we hope to provide everyone with hope during a time when having knowledge is especially key and possessing the motivation to use it can offer a spark to a person’s daily life.

“We’ve amassed a much-appreciated list of helpers,” Nguyen said of the organizations that are lending hands. “We’d love to welcome more volunteers to our team so as to see the depth of our communities’ needs and the actions we need to take to lessen their burdens.”
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