Community is at the heart of society. If we don’t help each other and just let every person fend for themselves, everyone suffers. When you have a strong community, people aren’t afraid to reach out and ask for help, and there are resources available to offer that help. But in order to have a strong community, we need organizations that put those structures in place and ensure that there are resources available. This takes money and people to accomplish. Volunteers who give their time freely to help others are at the core of this.
But when you want to help, it’s hard to know where to start. There are so many different places to volunteer that will require different skill sets and time commitments.
How to Choose a Volunteer Opportunity
There’s no real trick to choosing the right volunteer opportunity. You just have to consider what you can do and where you want to help. Is there a cause you’re really passionate about? Or a community problem you have always wanted to fix? Go with what seems interesting to you.
Then, look at what will be required for each opportunity. How much time do you have to give, and what relevant skills do you have? Some require driving, while others you can do at home. Some will be solitary activities, while others involve working with a team.
Pick an opportunity that fits your life and your values.
There are so many known benefits to volunteering. It’s good for your body and mental health. Take a look below for just a few many reasons that volunteering is for you!
Volunteering Gives You a Sense of Community
Volunteering connects you to others in your community because you know that the work you’re doing directly benefits someone else. Working with a group is especially great for this because you’ll feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
Volunteering Gives You a Sense of Purpose
On that same note, being part of something bigger gives you a sense of purpose. That purpose will help you all throughout your life by giving you direction and a sense of your values whenever you have to make big decisions.
Volunteering Can Be a Lot Of Fun!
Getting out of your house and your comfort zone doesn’t have to be scary. It can be really fun, especially when working with a group. Once you start, your volunteer time will turn into something that you look forward to.
You get to Meet New People and Make New Friends!
Volunteering is so much fun because of all the new people you meet. Whether you’re working with a team or delivering meals to seniors, there are so many opportunities to meet new people and form new connections. Some friendships may be brief and only last for a little while. But others may be friendships that stay with you for the rest of your life.
Volunteering can Teach You New Skills
Most volunteer opportunities will give you the chance to learn new skill sets. That might be something very specific, like learning to operate certain machinery, or more broad skills, like time management. No matter the job, it will teach you something new or help you refine skills you already have
Volunteering can Increase Your Job Prospects
Because volunteer opportunities teach you new skills and help you make new connections, they also help you find new job prospects. When you’re looking for new jobs, you’ll have a whole community behind you to help. Plus, volunteering looks great on a resume.
Volunteering Gets You Moving
If your volunteering opportunities take you out of the house at all, they are also helping to get you moving. Exercise is essential, but finding time in a busy schedule takes work. Luckily, just walking and moving around throughout the day counts.
What is Meals on Wheels?
Meals on Wheels is a senior meal delivery service that is designed to help homebound seniors live independently. The Meals on Wheels coalition in Contra Costa County provides and delivers healthy meals right to homebound seniors who need a little extra help. These seniors are usually unable to buy food or prepare meals by themselves because of mobility problems or chronic illness.
Volunteers aid in the delivery of meals to seniors in need. These deliveries are about more than food, though. With each delivery, there is also a check-in, where drivers will inquire about each senior’s general well-being. This way, Meals on Wheels can ensure that there are no significant problems and offer solutions to any issues that arise. This creates a community network so that seniors in the program can reach out and ask for help when there’s a problem.
The Importance of Social Visits for Homebound Seniors
For many seniors, their daily meal delivery might be the only social interaction they get in a day. It’s easy for many seniors to fall into a cycle of loneliness and isolation when they are cut off from their community. When transportation and mobility problems make leaving the house complex, it’s up to others to come to visit. If a senior has no family or friends nearby, they can get stuck inside all day with little outside contact and that can be highly detrimental to their mental health.
Humans are social creatures and need their community in order to thrive. The Meals on Wheels delivery program is designed to give seniors a daily dose of social interaction. Even a simple conversation can make a person’s day so much better, and over time, it will create a sense of community.
Proper Nutrition and Why It Matters
Contra Costa food insecurity is something that many people don’t even know is a problem. However, the senior community is at massive risk of facing food insecurity. That means that they are not getting the nutrients they need because of a poor diet or not getting enough food in general.
This is a reality that many seniors face when they are unable to get to the store or have to choose between buying medication or buying food. Meals on Wheels is based on the belief that everyone deserves good food and a nutritionally balanced diet. Because of this, no one in the program will be refused a meal if they cannot pay. Contributions by recipients are suggested but never required. This way, every senior in the program is guaranteed food, so no one goes hungry.
A proper, balanced meal is vital for everyone’s health, especially seniors. Their nutritional needs change, and it is often more challenging to keep up with what their bodies need to stay healthy. The right diet can help prevent or slow the progress of many diseases. It can also help seniors stay mobile, which increases their chances of being able to live independently.
Volunteering Opportunities in Contra Costa County
Volunteering with Meals on Wheels is a great way to help out your community. If we support those in need, it makes us all stronger.
There are so many great volunteer opportunities in Contra Costa County. When you volunteer, the time and effort you put in helps Meals on Wheels and make a real difference in the lives of the people around you.
And if Meals on Wheels isn’t right for you, check out other Contra Costa County community service opportunities and find one that’s right for you. After all, volunteering is great for you and your community.