Try to think back on the past year. How much time did you donate to a charitable organization? Your answer may be “I haven’t volunteered at all”. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, based on a survey of Americans 16 and older, that only 24.9% of American’s volunteered their time in 2015.
Volunteering can make a huge difference to a person in need or an animal that has only known hardship. In the Charlotte area, where I live now, there’s an incredibly generous homeless shelter/soup kitchen that I enjoy contributing to. The Urban Ministries Center (www.urbanministrycenter.org) is open 365 days a year and opens its doors to anyone without judgment. I grew up in the Detroit area, and witnessed a lot of homelessness, so I’m inspired to help that demographic whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Recently I hosted a sandwich making party. I’ve shared a couple pictures here. Four friends and I whipped up 150 sandwiches and delivered them to the shelter. We made turkey, turkey and cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches. It was a blast! Not only did I get to hang out with my friends, but we got to give back to our community. Now, not everyone has to make 150 sandwiches to get their volunteer hours in. You may be inspired to act, but don’t know where to start.
There are several ways you can find an opportunity that’s right for you. If you’re local to the Charlotte area, there’s a great organization called Hands On Charlotte, that I’d recommend looking into. Hands on Charlotte will help place volunteers in several different types of opportunities with various organizations. You can do anything from sorting clothing at a donation center or tutoring to planting vegetables at a local community farm. Seriously, I spent time planting potatoes last year and it was quite a feat!
Nationally you can also visit www.volunteermatch.org. This website will give you several volunteering resources across America, so you can take your pick of what you find most interesting. Regardless of how you choose to give back, I would encourage each of you to explore the opportunities near you. You may just find that you’ve not only helped your neighbor, but that you had fun doing it.
So I’ll leave you with last question. How much time will you donate to a charitable organization over the next year?
Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm
All opinions and editorial decisions are my own. This article is not sponsored.