The start of a new year is full of festivities and excitement, with many people looking forward to the promise of twelve months ahead to make positive changes. Whether their goal is to quit smoking, exercise harder, sleep better, eat healthier, travel more, or something else, these New Year’s resolutions pick up where the holidays left off and set the stage for a productive year.
A great New Year’s resolution makes a real and tangible difference in your life, and can make a difference in the lives of others as well. One way you can resolve to better yourself and the community this year is through volunteering.
Volunteering not only benefits your physical and mental health by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress levels, and increasing endorphins released by the brain, but it can also boost your social health.(1) When you spend time working with other people towards a common goal or cause, you are simultaneously creating an opportunity to develop strong and lasting relationships. If you volunteer with family members, you can strengthen family bonds and increase the likelihood that the younger members of the family will continue volunteering as they age.(2) Ultimately, the combination of physical, mental, and social benefits that you gain from volunteering have a lasting impact on your well-being.
The hours you put toward volunteering can greatly impact the lives of others, too. Many mission-driven, non-profit, or social service organizations rely on volunteers to assist them in achieving goals that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible to attain. Visit VolunteerMatch.org and Volunteer.gov to find an organization that fits your interest, availability, and location.
Here at the Food Bank, our volunteers make it possible for us to serve more meals to more people. In fact, due to our volunteers, we’re able to provide food to more than half a million people every year. Hunger doesn’t end when the holidays do, and as many of our neighbors continue to struggle with food insecurity and other obstacles, our volunteers contribute their time and resources towards making sure no one goes hungry in Northern Illinois.
The Food Bank is always looking for volunteers to help us sort and pack donated food at one of our centers in Geneva, Rockford, and Park City. Soon, we’ll have a fourth center in Joliet to help serve our Southern counties better – stay tuned! To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Food Bank, visit SolveHungerToday.org/Volunteer or contact a Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-443-6910 to learn about special opportunities including:
Where: Northwest Center / 765 Research Parkway / Rockford, IL 61109
When: January 25 at 9:00 – 10:30 AM
What: Volunteers are invited to attend an information session to learn more about opportunities to get involved with the soon-to-open Winnebago Community Market. Snacks will be provided. RSVP here.
Where: All three centers
When: Deadline to apply is February 3
What: High school students aged 16-18 can give back to their community while simultaneously building their leadership skills and resume. Learn more and apply here.
No matter where you choose to volunteer and what you are doing, you are making a positive difference in your life and the lives of others – and what could be a better New Year’s resolution than that?
(1) Team, Brain and Spine. “Why Giving Is Good For Your Health.” Health Essentials, Cleveland Clinic, 28 Nov. 2017.
(2) Carr, Dawn C. “5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 12 Mar. 2014.