Jan 16, 2013 (The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Volunteer work, encouraged for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, is easy to find and sign up for using smartphone applications.
Sign in to HelpBridge, by Microsoft Corp. for Android, Apple and Windows Phone, using a Facebook or Microsoft account. Volunteering is just one of several functions on the app, among them the ability to send for help from an emergency list of contacts if you're in some sort of bind.
The Volunteer page on HelpBridge shows opportunities either locally or nationwide. The Philadelphia-area selection includes helping with the food drive at the Salvation Army, serving with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and joining up with several shorthanded volunteer fire departments. When you make a selection, the app sends your contact information to that group.
In addition, you can use HelpBridge to donate money to any of about two dozen worthy causes, such as the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and World Vision. Make donations either by text or by using the payment service PayPal.
A separate listing shows items that charitable groups need right now -- laptops, vans, pots and pans -- things you can arrange to donate by tapping "Donate now." That action sends an e-mail to the charity, asking it to get back to you with a plan for delivering the goods.
On Catalista: Volunteer Locally, by Catalista L.L.C. from Apple's App Store, you choose when and where you can give volunteer time, and then pick things you care about -- the menu includes animals, health, seniors and other causes -- and see the resulting opportunities on a list or map.
When you click to sign up for your choice, the app transfers you to the volunteer group's website. By registering with Catalista, you may log the volunteer hours you've put in. And from within the app, you can tap to e-mail or Facebook the volunteer opportunity for others to check out.
For groups that need volunteers, the "Options" area on the Catalista app is for requesting help.
VolunteerMatch, by VolunteerMatch, is another place to look for volunteer opportunities on your iPhone. The app finds them nearby using your device's location service. We found openings for tour guides at Philadelphia's historic Laurel Hill Cemetery, for reading tutors, and for clerks for social-service agencies.
Register with VolunteerMatch to be referred for a volunteer spot.
MLK Day of Service events were numerous on the Volunteer Finder app by the Good Life, as were requests for Girl Scout troop volunteers and for mentors at several organizations. Listings on this app for Apple devices provide links to the volunteer-group websites.
Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114, email@example.com or @ReidKan on Twitter.
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