Most of us agree that volunteering is a powerful way to give back to our local communities, enhance and add value to our neighborhoods, achieve personal growth and possibly even learn a new skill. But how you can really get started? Finding the right volunteer experience for you can be an overwhelming process, here are a few quick and easy ways you can started today.
Contact your local Red Cross chapter
The American Red Cross is one of the nation's largest and well-recognized nonprofits. This group aims to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Getting involved is easy and the registration and process is efficient. Whether you're looking to use the skills you already have or learn something new, there are a wide range of volunteering opportunities, including roles for youth, group opportunities, blood drive volunteers and nursing and digital professionals. With over 760 regional or city-based chapters, there's likely a chapter near you. Check out their volunteer page to find out more.
Neighborhood Food Banks
Like the Red Cross, there's almost certainly a local food bank near you that's in need of volunteers. Food banks or pantries and soup kitchens use volunteers in a variety of ways. You and your family could consider organizing a local food drive in your neighborhood, raise money, stock shelves at the food bank or hand out meals to those that use their services.
Help out with Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is another widely known and respected nonprofits. This group's vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. You don't need to know how to build houses to help them achieve this goal. Volunteer opportunities range from helping out occasionally at your local ReStore resale outlet to international, long-term commitments.
For outdoor lovers, this one's easy. You could tackle cleaning up a local park on your own, with your family or as part of a larger group. Contact your local parks and recreation department to see if they have specific projects where they need help, or simply find a spot and start picking up trash.
Start at Home
If you've got younger children, it may be easiest to give back right from you own home. Ask your local hospitals or nursing homes if their residents would appreciate home-made cards or gifts. Put together a care kit for a soldier through Operation Shoebox. Or bake goods or make soup for a local food bank.
We want to hear from you! How are you or your family planning to give back this spring?