THERE’S AN OLD SAYING that the only thing in life that stays the same is change. The pandemic has changed everything short of how the world rotates on its axis. Nothing, it seems, is the same as it was before. As a result, everyone has had to reassess just how we live our lives.
Often, when we think about who we were before COVID-19 and wonder who we want to be afterward, it’s easy to get lost in the muddle, and overthink. Rather than go that route, think outside of yourself instead of within—and by that, I mean, give some time and energy to helping others. Pick a cause. Become a volunteer. You may be surprised to discover that when you help others, you help yourself. The more you do, the better you make things that really matter—to your community, to your cause, and to you.
The Wizard of Oz called volunteers “good deed doers” and on a large scale, where money’s involved, they’re known as philanthropists. The Bible encourages us to selflessly give time and energy to achieve the greater good. Like the Apostle, Paul wrote in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” And he didn’t mean tossing a fiver in the collection plate. He meant that in God’s economy when you give of yourself to ease and profit the lives of others, your own life will increase in happiness and value.
Volunteering is important for many reasons. A volunteer saves nonprofit organizations from spending money they otherwise would have to pay for services. Like a cog in a wheel, a volunteer helps her community— whether it’s at church, in school or library, at a hospital or in a club—to function effectively. And when an individual, family, or group is in need, a volunteer helps ease the way. Being a volunteer increases your experience, your value, and your skills. You’ll meet new people, make new friends. Volunteering also increases your self-esteem, improves your sense of wellbeing, and decreases stress. You’re doing God’s work. And that’s what Paul was speaking about.
Joyce Reehling left, and Judie Wiggins, right, (above) are among the many much-valued volunteers of the Sandhills Women’s Exchange in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The historic log cabin (below) was built in 1810, moved two miles to Pinehurst in 1895, and it has been home to the Sandhills Women’s Exchange since 1895. Founded in 1832, the Woman’s Exchange is one of the oldest, continuously operating charitable movements in America. It enabled women to supplement their family’s income by consigning handmade and homemade goods for sale. At its peak, during the Great Depression, there were 100 Women’s Exchanges around the country. Today only 20 remain.
How to Become a Volunteer
▪ Consider your interests.
▪ What skills, knowledge, or experience do you have to offer?
▪ How much time can you offer?
▪ Discuss opportunities with friends and acquaintances you may know who already volunteer.
▪ Visit the place you want to volunteer and see what positions they may have available. Speak to the person who oversees volunteers. Determine if any training is required.
▪ Fill out an application if one is required and follow-up.
▪ Don’t over-commit your time or abilities. Start off slowly, then add time and responsibilities in time, if you wish.