5 Easy Ways to Volunteer in Your Community

By: Mollie Shauger | Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | Volunteering

Volunteers fill boxes with canned goods and packaged foods. Credit: YMCA

With busy schedules, finding the time to volunteer can be hard. However, volunteering doesn’t have to be a grand commitment. Even small tasks can make a big difference in other people’s lives.

Volunteering is another way to connect to your community and make it a better place. Many Americans will mark a National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11 with acts of volunteerism. Here are some ways to give back on this day or any day of the year.

1. Volunteer at school or child care

Helping out at your child’s school or child care center is not only a great way to meet other families and teachers, but it’s also an opportunity to spend time with your child and show that their school activities matter, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some ways to volunteer could include joining a parent-teacher organization, helping out in the classroom or with special events, or helping to chaperone students on a field trip. 

2. Volunteer with an organization

Nonprofits like the YMCA rely on volunteers to help with events, fundraisers, and other programs. The YMCA'sTogetherhood program provides opportunities to help with community service projects or serve on a planning committee. The website volunteermatch.org also allows you to search by location and to see what other organizations have service opportunities available.

3. Care for the environment

Taking care of the earth benefits everyone in the community, and that could be as simple as picking up trash at your local park. Also, planting a tree in your neighborhood can help keep your street shady and cool, and benefit the planet by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

4. Help out a local food bank

September is Hunger Action Month, a time to bring attention to the hunger crisis in America. In New Jersey, one in 10 people struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America. Spending a few hours each month volunteering can make a huge difference for food banks and the families they serve.

5. Help out a neighbor

Giving back to the community can be as simple as showing kindness to those right next door. This could include assisting an elderly neighbor with landscaping or snow removal, or getting their mail for them. Many neighborhoods also have associations or community watch programs where you can meet other residents, work on beautification projects together, and create a sense of pride in your community.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at your local YMCA branch, visit metroymcas.org.


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