Surprising Benefits to Volunteering - Pt 1

Tags: Volunteers

In 2013, more than 2,750 volunteers collectively provided almost 42,830 hours to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. It may be hard to find the time with our busy lives to volunteer but the benefits are enormous. Volunteering can help you find friends, learn new skills, advance your career, and reach out into the community. At the Food Bank there are many volunteer opportunities.

One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together while making it a better place. However, volunteering is a two-way street, and it can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. 

Yellow HCFB tshirt

Volunteering helps you make new friends and contacts

One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.

2 volunteer packing rice

Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills

While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.

2 volunteers having fun at a mobile pantry

Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health

Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.

Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.

Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.

dedicated and snowbird volunteers in partner agency area

If you would like to learn more about volunteering at Harry Chapin Food Bank please contact Tanya via email tanyaphillips@harrychapinfoodbank.org or call (239)334-7007 extension 141 or submit a volunteer application now!

This is the first in a two-part series on volunteerism -- stay tuned for part two, coming next month!

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