There are a lot of reasons that people volunteer for programs like Meals on Wheels. Sometimes people do it because they have free time and want to help their community. Sometimes people are required to do it for school programs. Or they may feel passionate about a specific cause and want to do their part to help.
There are many good reasons to volunteer for programs that help the people in your community. But most people don’t realize the many excellent benefits of volunteering, especially if they lead busy lives with only a little extra time leftover. When you volunteer, you can help individual people in need, you help your community as a whole, and you also help yourself.
Read on to discover the many benefits for you and those around you when you volunteer your time and energy to a cause bigger than yourself.
You are Able to Help Others
Of course; volunteering helps others. That’s why we do it, right? When you volunteer with any organization helping others in your community, you can see the benefits firsthand. You can see happiness in the faces of those you have helped. You get to hear their stories, and you can see their lives improve because of the work you are doing.
For example, there are many volunteer opportunities available through Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa and our partners.
Delivery drivers are the backbone of our organization. They are in direct contact with the people they are helping by delivering healthy meals to the doors of seniors in need. They also provide another vital service by performing wellness checks. These checks ensure that drivers come face-to-face with members of the program and check in about everyday aspects of their lives.
These wellness checks ensure that seniors get healthy food consistently and that other aspects of their lives are okay. If something is off, like a health or housing problem, Meals on Wheels has resources to help set change in motion. When you perform wellness checks for seniors, you create positive change for those in need.
You Are Making Your Community Better
The great thing about volunteering for a program that focuses on the community is that it improves your entire neighborhood. You’re not just helping isolated individuals. You’re building connections and trust between people. For example, seniors who benefit from a meal delivery program like Meal on Wheels trust the network of people in their community who will support them, no matter what. When you work with an organization that focuses on community help, you can see the benefits in everyone around you and how they will step up to help each other.
And remember that these programs couldn’t function without you and other volunteers. Most non-profit organizations rely on volunteers to donate their time and energy to help others. So by volunteering, you are ensuring that these organizations can continue the meaningful work they are doing. You and other volunteers are an essential part of these programs and organizations.
But there’s one more big benefit to volunteering.
Volunteering is Actually Really Good For You
You read that right! Volunteering is good for you. Let’s break down how.
Volunteering is great for your social life
When you volunteer and get involved in your community, you meet new people, make new friends, and build connections. Volunteering creates a support system for yourself and others. It also increases your social skills because you interact with other people in a new environment. You also increase your self-confidence and self-esteem by getting out of your comfort zone.
It’s good for your mental health
Volunteering to help other people can help combat mental health problems like depression and anxiety. These kinds of activities get you out of the house and active. Connecting with others gives you a sense that you are not alone, even when life is hard.
Building a larger social circle can help you empathize with others and understand life from a broader perspective. Some volunteers can’t get out of the house and be active in their volunteering. But even working from home or a set location brings amazing benefits because you are still connecting with others and becoming part of something bigger.
It’s good for your physical health
If you volunteer with a program involving a lot of movement, you reap the benefits of working out without having to go to the gym or paying a ridiculous membership fee. Any movement is good for you and will help your physical health in the long and short term. Plus, you’ll get the workout without even noticing because you’ll be too busy having fun and helping others.
It can make you happier
Studies show helping others makes you happier. It’s called a “helper’s high.” Doing something nice for another person without expecting anything in return produces happiness hormones. We feel happy when we can make others feel happy. It’s just how we are. Humans are social and thrive on connection.
It can give you a sense of purpose
Doing any work to help others makes you happier and gives you a sense of purpose. This phenomenon is prevalent in volunteer work because people want to volunteer for an organization that they feel a special connection to.
When you give your time and attention to a cause, you want that cause to hold a special place in your heart. This makes you feel like a part of something bigger than yourself. Even volunteering a few hours a week can make a big difference in how you see your community and your place in it.
It can help jumpstart your future
Volunteering can help in your future, whether professionally or for your personal growth. You’ll gain valuable experience and learn new skills. It also lets you test out a different career path before you commit. That way, you can know if this new path is right for you. There are so many opportunities out there to explore. Plus, volunteering looks great on any resume.
The Benefits of Volunteering for Your Community
There are so many great benefits to volunteering. To start, you can see firsthand how you’re helping individuals in your community and how you’re helping your community as a whole. That alone should be some great motivation to get started.
It also holds many benefits for you personally. Through the experience of volunteering, you can help your physical and mental health, instill a sense of purpose in yourself, and help jumpstart your future. Just remember, helping others makes everyone feel happier and more connected.
How to Get Involved in Your Community
There are so many ways that you can get involved in your community if you just put yourself out there and look for opportunities!
Search your community for volunteer opportunities, or see if an organization you feel connected to has any positions open. Try out different programs and see what works for you. And remember all the ways volunteering can help you and your community come together for a better future.
Are you interested in volunteering with Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa or our partners in the community? Head over to our website to better understand what opportunities are available and how you can volunteer.