With the holiday season upon us and the new year just around the corner, I can’t help but reflect on the gratitude I feel for our community. I think most will agree this has been a year like no other — certainly in my lifetime. And while we’ve seen our share of challenges, I am heartened by the ways in which we have all pulled together to make our community stronger.
Because we are a co-op, volunteerism and giving back are a part of who we are. Many of our co-op employees coach youth sports, assist in school functions or serve on local boards. I, myself, even officiate high school sports.
We look at co-op volunteerism as an investment in our community by enabling our employees to donate their time and expertise to help groups that are doing so much for our community. Every October our employees give back by helping various groups and/or organizations in our communities. Unfortunately this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to fulfill that role but cannot wait to see what’s in store for 2021.
Volunteerism is the gift that keeps on giving. While it’s difficult to quantify the impact that volunteers have, I do know they make a tremendous difference in our community and make our corner of the world a better place. Many organizations depend on volunteers to fulfill their mission. Volunteers fill in gaps and spread joy and compassion through their efforts. Even assisting with the smallest tasks can make a big impact in the lives of people, animals or an organization in need. Often a big commitment or special skills are not needed, just someone who cares.
I hope you’ll consider volunteering. Give an organization or cause that you care about the gift of your compassion, time and talent. In addition to the organization and the community benefiting from your efforts, you will receive a gift as well. Not only will you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are helping a good cause, you will likely make new friends, expand your social network, strengthen existing skills or learn a new one.
Volunteering may provide additional dimension and purpose to your life. In the process, you will be a role model for your family because your commitment will offer a powerful lesson to your children. It will show them first-hand how one person can make a big difference and strengthen the community in which they live.
The gift of volunteerism is a gift that will continue giving all year long. So, this holiday season, consider starting a new tradition — give the gift of time.