Whether you are a Christian or not, you were probably taught as children to help others in need. I know I was. That’s great advice, but how do we make it practical? Where do we look for the others in need? These ideas are from people I know and local organizations. Once you have an idea what you want to do, you can look in your area for those who do them…or start one of your own.
Food Pantries: These are a lifeline for those struggling to make ends meet. The pantries need help stocking shelves, helping clients and finding resources to fill the shelves. You can donate, volunteer or both…you’ll be welcomed.
Homeless Outreach: Our town has a place called The Samaritan Center. Those who are homeless can do their laundry, take a shower, eat and receive counseling if needed. Those who are looking for work can use the Samaritan Center’s address and phone number for applications. They are the central meal site for the evening meal, which is hosted by area churches. They need people with skills, donations of food, clothing and laundry soap. They could always use money.
The Elderly: There are a number of ways you can reach out to our senior citizens. You can do it one on one, volunteer at the Senior Center or help out in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Those with talents can sing, draw or read. Those without a family to visit might like volunteer visitors. Call and talk to the person in charge and see what they need.
Animal Rescues : If you aren’t a people person but get along well with pets, this may be your opportunity. Animals need caught and cared for. Colonies of feral cats are trapped, neutered and released. Those who might become people friendly need fostering and training.
There are also tiny kittens and puppies who have lost their mother and need bottle feeding. This is one of the harder jobs because it has to be done every two or three hours day and night. While the wakeful nights are difficult, the reward of seeing a baby that could have been lost grow up and be adopted is worth it.
How do I choose?
Follow your Passion: Look for opportunities in areas you are comfortable with and have a strong feeling for. Doing what you genuinely love to do is better for you and those you reach out to. It shows.
Look for your Niche: There are probably hundreds of other volunteer positions out there. If what I’ve written doesn’t inspire you, pick up the phone book or use Google. Someone out there needs you.
There is a good feeling when you’ve done something for others, whether it’s people or pets. Volunteer work doesn’t just help others, it helps each person who does it. Give it a try…you might be surprised at the outcome.