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Easy ways to volunteer and give back to your community

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Millions of people across the globe volunteer every day. Without the selfless efforts of volunteers, many charities would be forced to cease operations. In fact, a 2017 study from the charitable community membership organization Independent Sector estimated that the labor provided by volunteers is worth roughly $193 billion per year in the United States alone.

But volunteering can be as beneficial for volunteers as it can for the organizations they help. For example, the Mayo Clinic Health System notes that research has indicated volunteering leads to lower rates of depression while providing individuals with a sense of purpose. Volunteering can be especially beneficial for adults over age 60, with the MCHS noting that older volunteers experience greater increases in life satisfaction and greater positive changes in their perceived health as a result of volunteering.

With so much to gain from volunteering, it’s no wonder that so many people across the globe volunteer. According to the United Nations Volunteers program, global estimates place the number of worldwide volunteers at 970 million. That’s nearly three times the population of the United States and more than 26 times the population of Canada in 2018.

It’s never been easier to volunteer and begin helping your community. Adults and children who want to join the nearly one billion strong global volunteering community need not look far to get involved. The Corporation for National Community Service notes that the following are some easy ways to volunteer in your community.

Serve meals at a local shelter or community kitchen.

Sign up to work as a tutor or mentor with a local afterschool program.

Help adults find the right professional opportunities by hosting a résumé writing/review workshop and conducting practice interview sessions.

Work in conjuction with a local food pantry to organize a food donation drive.

Volunteer to help the environment by working with local, state, or national park services to beautify parks and/or a local community garden.

Work with a local emergency response organization to produce and distribute disaster-preparedness kits.

Help fellow community members save money by collecting and sharing information about free tax-preparation services.

Read to students or seniors — contact a local community or senior center.

Volunteer at an animal shelter.

When it comes to volunteering, the opportunities are as endless as the benefits of giving back to your community.