BRANDON — With dozens of greater Brandon nonprofit organizations in need of volunteers and hundreds of potential candidates, ranging from honors students seeking community service hours to retirees looking to apply their skills, it doesn't seem like pairing the two groups would be that difficult.
But Janine Nickerson, president of the Community Roundtable, said circumstances such as procrastination, not knowing where to look or outdated lists of organizations that skew toward Tampa are all reasons residents and groups in east Hillsborough have trouble connecting.
"We've got people out here who need the help," Nickerson said.
While the all-volunteer Community Roundtable began helping charities in 1957, it wasn't until 2013 when it started the Community Service Forum. The fifth meeting of this twice-a-year event will take place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Brandon High School, 1101 Victoria St.
It's designed to connect volunteers with area nonprofit organizations.
"They're right here," Nickerson said of the local charities. "And the parents have the chance to meet the nonprofits their children will be working with."
Nickerson said the last Community Service Forum matched more than 200 volunteers with approximately 25 organizations. For example, she said Life's Treasures Thrift Store in Brandon provided opportunities for 15 students to earn more than 2,000 community service hours after signing them up at a recent Community Service Forum.
Organizations set up informational booths and invite the potential volunteers to visit with representatives who explain the opportunities. The nonprofits are grouped together according to missions such as animal rescue, environmental, health, sports and arts to make it easier to peruse the offerings.
The nonprofits also are encouraged to join the Community Roundtable for a $20 annual fee that allows them to post all their events online in one central place. Visit thecommunityroundtable.org for more information.
"This is a great opportunity," Nickerson said.
Contact Eric Vician at [email protected]