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Web site matches help with agencies

It’s a match-making service without the romance, but plenty of warm fuzzies.

United Way of Kootenai County has launched a new Web site linking do-gooders with nonprofits and agencies that need help.

Prospective volunteers can search by keyword, ZIP code and areas of interest, including human rights, animals, the environment, arts, homelessness and hunger.

The Volunteer Action Center was created after United Way member agencies and nonprofits said they could do so much more with the money they received if only they had more volunteers, said Caryl Johnston, executive director of United Way of Kootenai County.

“The value of volunteers is millions of dollars worth of labor and return on investments,” Johnston said. The hope is to expand the Volunteer Action Center to all of Idaho’s five northern counties.

Nonprofits, faith-based organizations, government groups and any other organization needing volunteers – on a regular or one-time basis – can utilize the Volunteer Action Center.

“It’s something that’s going to benefit every organization in the community,” Johnston said.

The volunteer opportunities posted include cooking for St. Vincent de Paul’s community dinners on Monday nights; cutting, splitting and delivering firewood to the elderly; doing yard work for low-income seniors; greeting customers at the Kootenai Humane Society; and harvesting fruit to feed the hungry.

United Way’s Sept. 17 Day of Caring is the official launch of the Web site, Johnston said, but it’s not too early for volunteers to start perusing opportunities or organizations to post requests for help.

Volunteers are still needed for several community projects scheduled during the Day of Caring, which is the kickoff of United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.

The nonprofit Community Roots is looking for fruit pickers. Children’s Village is hoping for some help with yardwork and repairing bikes for children who live there. The Dirne Clinic is in desperate need of some landscaping.

Several other organizations also have projects and wish lists for the Day of Caring.

To volunteer call United Way of Kootenai County at 667-8112 or e-mail