Visiting the elderly or shut-ins in your neighborhood is another great way to volunteer. While volunteering at a local center that does charity work is always a good way to fulfill your goal to help others, there are many other ways to personalize what you can do.
Looking for opportunities in your own neighborhood can start you on a volunteering journey that is more personal and can be adjusted to your own schedule. You may have neighbors who are elderly or home bound that might need help and are being missed by nearby volunteer groups.
Once you figure out who you would like to reach out to and help, you need to get your foot in the door, so to speak. A perfect time to introduce yourself is after a storm when the power is out. Stopping by to introduce yourself and see if they are ok is a good way to start. You can ask them if they have a way to keep warm, have enough food to eat or need any help.
Get to know them a little bit by telling them who you are and where you live. Bringing over some tea to share can often open up the opportunity to sit for a bit and get to know each other. Through this conversation, you can see if they have friends or family checking in on them already to determine if your help is really needed.
Getting to know which elderly neighbors already have a safety net will better help you to know where to focus your time and volunteering resources. They may know of other neighbors who might need to be checked on too so be sure to ask them this question before saying goodbye.
Connecting with your neighbors is sometimes a lost art in the world we live in. Creating friendships in your own neighborhood is always a good idea. It will make your feel better about where you live and inspire others to look out for each other too.
Often the elderly and home bound are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood when everyone is at work for the day. Because of your friendliness towards them, you will feel safer knowing they are looking out for you too.
Helping the Homeless – A Great Place to Start!
So Your Thinking about Volunteering & Not Sure where Your Focus Should be?
Homeless people are in our communities in a much bigger way than ever these days. Large cities often have designated areas where the homeless are known to congregate. Many of us don’t know what we can do but Helping the Homeless is needed and a perfect way to volunteer.
The homeless often find themselves in this position due to a crisis in their lives such as a recent job loss or divorce. Most people in the USA are only a few months away from such an event themselves & if they have no place to go when their income stops, they could become homeless as well.
Having no money can lead to car repossessions & even home foreclosures pretty quickly. Food stamps & unemployment rarely covers even a small portion of the mortgage or current bills & it is almost impossible to get a job if you have no transportation or gas to get there.
The homeless are not so different from us. They face the same challenges in a fast paced society that will not wait if we get behind. There are many reasons why homelessness occurs which can include poor financial planning, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, court orders, wage garnishments, etc. The struggle to survive can be daunting depending on one’s circumstances & often the reason a person decides to just quit.
If you are interested in helping the homeless, visit a local shelter or food bank for ideas on what you can do. If you see the homeless on your commute to work or in a nearby neighborhood, think about how you could help them personally. Dropping off a sandwich at lunch time or offering a book can be a simple way to connect with them & hear their story. Your Focus should be to encourage them, offer hope & show them respect as a human being.
If you prefer not to interact directly, a simple act of kindness is still important & can be done in secret too. Get creative & look for opportunities that open up before you as they most certainly will. Think of yourself as a servant or angel that wants to put a blessing in someone’s life & watch excitedly as the opportunities begin to reveal themselves.