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Ways You Can Help During This Pandemic

IRIS is a free service that reads print information aloud to more than 3,000 print-disabled listeners throughout Iowa. They are looking for volunteers to record from home for broadcasts and podcasts. No professional recording equipment required.

During this dark and scary time there are some points of light. We’ve seen neighborhoods come together virtually. People have been decorating in themes for families to enjoy when they go out for walks, coordinating support for elderly neighbors, organizing socially distant birthday surprises for people who are stuck at home, and swapping home schooling or entertainment ideas.

We’ve seen innovators coordinate incredible efforts to create personal protective equipment for health care workers and 3D printers are working overtime at University labs, New Bo City Market and other places. Mr. Rogers told us to look for the helpers, and they are everywhere. But that was a message for children. The message for adults is that we can be the helpers and on this edition of Talk of Iowa you'll hear from some innovative helpers and find out how each one of us can make a difference. 

Please remember that even if you can do nothing but stay home to avoid spreading this virus that is still an important contribution. You are making a difference right now. But if you can do more check out the resources below.

Volunteer Iowa COVID-19 database

Volunteer Iowa has created a database with specific COVID-19 related volunteer opportunities. Many of these opportunities include packing food backpacks and emergency food boxes, Meals on Wheels delivery, blood donations and much more. Click here to see to see the full list of opportunities across Iowa.   

IRIS - Iowa Radio Reading

IRIS is a free news and information service that broadcasts 24 hours a day, every day of the year to thousands of listeners throughout Iowa. Each day, volunteers in seven locations across the state sit down in front of an IRIS microphone and read aloud from their local newspapers. IRIS is in need of volunteers to record newspaper readings from home. No professional recording equipment is required. Below is an example of a reading of the Des Moines Register from March 29, 2020. Email iris@iowaradioreading.org or call 877-404-4747 for more information and to get involved.


Michelle Raymer, senior program officer, Volunteer Iowa

Mary Frances Evans, executive director, IRIS

Mary Swander, artistic director, Swander Woman Productions

Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa