Psst. Do You Have a Minute . . . or an Hour or Two?

VolunteerDo you volunteer? Are you too busy for that? Really? The satisfaction that you get from volunteering is worth so much more than catching up on bingewatching some television show that won’t mean anything in your life next week. Volunteering, however, will mean something for the rest of your life.

I have volunteered with St. Mary’s Food Bank, both on occasion with various groups loading food boxes and individually dropping a food box off to a senior citizen who needed it once a month. St. Mary’s does a phenomenal job. Seeing the food that goes into the boxes and then watching how excited a hungry person gets when they see what’s inside are humbling experiences. I throw more food away every week than some of these people have to make a meal for their family. I’m going to start spacing my grocery shopping out so less food spoils and I don’t throw it away. It really makes you think about how blessed you are in your life. Not only do you have the time to spend an hour or two on a monthly or quarterly or even annual basis, but you have the resources to get you to the location in decent clothes, decent shoes, and a car. Yes, you’ve worked hard for those things and I appreciate that, but giving up time to help others who don’t have the resources that you do will give you a new perspective of the world. Not everyone is like you. There are people who don’t get a decent meal every day, who have to rely on public transportation to get them to their job, who have retired with no benefits.

I’ve also volunteered with the American Diabetes Association here in Phoenix. They are an amazing group of people trying to raise money to find a cure for diabetes. When I volunteered, my only link to diabetes was that my dad had developed it. Until now. I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and used my contacts at the ADA to get great information to educate myself. They have several events throughout the year that you can participate in to raise money. Do you love riding a bike? They have the Tour de Cure. Would you rather ride a motorcycle? They have Rip’s B.A.D. Ride. Is walking more your style? The Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is a great event. Would you rather just write a check? That would work too.

There are so many ways to make a difference outside of your world. All it takes is the desire to make a difference and a little bit of time. And it definitely WILL make a difference. The phrase that runs through my mind every time I’m volunteering is “There but for the grace of God, go I.” It so very easily could be other people volunteering to help ME! There are so many charities begging for volunteers. Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer. Not sure where to start? How about volunteermatch.org. It will show organizations in your area looking for volunteers.

Spend a couple of hours using your gifts to help others. The difference you will make is quantifiable. The pleasure you will get is immeasurable. The feels are real!

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