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The Importance of Volunteering

July 21, 2023


Lowhill Food Pantry

Volunteers are the glue that holds the community together, offering essential support to worthwhile causes and people in need. Most nonprofit organizations and charities rely on the generous help of volunteers, as many don’t have the budget to pay the salaries of a staff of full-time employees. Volunteers allow these organizations to thrive and accomplish their goals.

It can be difficult for the average working person to fit volunteering into their busy schedules. Volunteering requires you to give up a limited portion of your time and energy toward a cause without any sort of financial reward. However, there are many benefits that come from volunteering, not just for the greater community, but for you as well.

Building Connections

Our modern world of digital shopping and commuting to work can feel very lonely and isolated. Volunteering offers an opportunity for you to widen your social circle and meet new people. After all, we find friends by seeking out individuals with similar interests and participating in activities with like-minded people, which can include volunteer work!

This is especially important when moving to a new area. Volunteering for a local food pantry or rescue mission exposes you to people with common interests, helps you become more familiar with neighborhood resources, and provides fulfilling activity while strengthening your ties to the community.


Improving Your Health

There are obvious mental health benefits to volunteering, boosting self-confidence and self-esteem through doing good things for others. The sense of accomplishment that comes from helping your fellow citizens coupled with the sense of camaraderie that comes from regular contact with members of your community has been shown to reduce the risk of depression, which is often worsened by social isolation.

In addition to mental health benefits, volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates than people who do not, as well as lessening the symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease. If you find yourself struggling to involve yourself in regular physical activity, volunteering is a great way to keep yourself moving.

Benefits to Your Career

Many who dedicate their free time to volunteering find a passion for things they would have never considered. Volunteering for causes you believe in provides you with new experiences that may help you discover a career path that better aligns with your ideals. Volunteer work allows you to dip your toe into other possible careers without having to dive head-first into a long-term commitment.

Even if volunteering doesn’t change your professional trajectory, it can provide you with valuable on-the-job training and work experience. One of the benefits community service offers you is a chance to improve skills which are important in any workplace, such as communication and organizational skills, teamwork, planning, problem-solving and task management.

Volunteering 2

Increased Social Awareness

Everyone feels strongly about at least one issue, but it can be difficult to make the meaningful changes you want to see in the world. If you've ever found yourself asking you can make a difference, volunteering provides an avenue for you to improve your community and make an impact.

Moreover, community service broadens your perspective on social issues by directly exposing you to the problems we face as a society. Simply reading about an issue or listening to news commentary about a social problem isn’t the same as getting personally involved. When volunteering, you interact on a personal level with families and individuals in need, earning firsthand experience and greater understanding of the difficulties these people face.

Volunteering Is Fun & Fulfilling

The most important benefit of volunteering is that it is a fun activity that provides a fulfilling outlet to explore your passions and interests. It provides a change of pace from your day-to-day routine of work, school, and family commitments and can help get you out of a rut if you feel that your daily life has become too mundane.

Many people volunteer to make time for hobbies outside of work. Volunteering can renew your creativity, jump-start your motivation, and provide you with a sense of purpose that will carry over to everything else in your life. It’s important when jumping into volunteering to focus on causes that you’re passionate about—you’re more likely to stay committed to the work if it’s something for which you care deeply. No matter what you do, it’s important to make sure that you’re enjoying the work that you do!

Michele Hunsicker

Michele Hunsicker is an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for New Tripoli Bank. She has been part of the Bank's finance department for over twenty years and has worked in banking for over thirty-five. Michele serves on the board of the Northern Lehigh Food Bank and regularly volunteers with her local church.

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