How Hands Uplift Hearts
Local places of worship often maintain a list of opportunities to serve a community through helping and healing ministries as well as special projects. The Red Cross is best known for supplying aid in emergency situations, but many needs are year-round (RedCross.org). A call to city hall can steer willing participants to the right local organization. Here are other examples from around the country and nearby to spark love-inspired ideas.
PeopleMeals on Wheels does much more than deliver lunches to those in need (MOWAA.org).
In Austin, Texas, the Healthy Options Program for the Elderly program brings a bag of groceries monthly to clients most nutritionally at risk, plus Groceries to Go volunteers shop for or with clients every two weeks. Minor safety-related home repairs are provided through the Handy Wheels project.
In Seattle, community helpers paint classrooms, install new playground equipment and donate books and supplies at the city’s public schools.
Berkley, California, YMCA volunteers teach classes like mindful meditation or restorative yoga, work the front desk, read to preschoolers and do fundraising.
AnimalsHomeless dogs in shelters learn leash manners while participating in the Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound program at South Carolina’s Aiken County Animal Shelter. Leashes and treats are supplied to encourage volunteers to walk dogs at least once a week. It’s healthy exercise for both dogs and humans. To calculate the calorie burn, visit Tinyurl.com/WalkOffCalories. Shelter cats need socialization, too. Visits that include playtime and gentle petting make them more adoptable.
EnvironmentNew York Cares has family projects available with no minimum age requirement (NYCares.org). Either on an ongoing or a one-day basis, volunteers improve parks, plant community gardens and refresh public spaces. Trails require refurbishing after bad weather. Streams and waterways need a good cleanup after floods. Check with the park ranger for more information.
With a little research, volunteers can find the right activity, whatever their location, interest, age or abilities. Another good place to start is VolunteerMatch.org, which is easy to search by zip code and personal interests. A perfect opportunity to help others awaits.