...serenity in motion
I have amazing friends. Not only are the fun and whitty but they are all people who help me be the best version of myself. Several of them work for organizations that help others and one of them recently lost several volunteers (temporarily) to COVID exposure. Her specific organization helps the community in several special ways, she recently commented to me that her organization is really hurting for volunteers. It seems COVID has made it difficult to keep them around right now because they represent a vulerable population who are afraid of infection and rightfully so. Vaccines have helped but if you have followed the news and information out there, you are aware that getting innoculated only totally prevents you from dying. Sickness to a population on a fixed income can be a huge financial setback. There is also a small portion of the population that is afraid of the vaccines and refuse to get them (thus the temporary loss).
I stepped up for 3 hours this week, what is 3 hours? Not much out of my day but my friend made me feel welcome, as did the other volunteers. They were happy for any help. I floated from task to task until I found one that would keep me busy, contained and productive. It wasn't difficult but it satisfied my need for order and helped keep them moving forward. What did I observe?
No one expects you to know everything or even anything. They are all willing to help you figure it out. Almost like they're afraid you will leave. Always kind, they answered my questions over and over and guided me to where they needed me to be.
They are really very happy for any help they can get. It doesn't matter what you can or can't do, you can do something and it does make a difference.
Hours for many of these community outreach have been limited, making it harder for people to access the assistance they need. The assistance is truly needed and appreciated. People are suffering in spite of the economic stimulus packages and every bit of assitance is being used by those in need.
The people who run these organizations might be lucky enough to get paid, but not nearly enough. They work hard for these organizations; sometimes giving up mornings, evenings, weekends and health. If you can't offer time and want to help the directors, bring them coffee or donuts. Tacos work really well too (supporting a small local taco truck at the same time, Bonus!).
If you can volunteer and the director says, you have 5 minutes to finish; finish. They give up personal hours, reschedule their lives for chances to gain resources specifically to support their organization. If they say you are done, be done. It might mean they actually get home to rest.
Listen to the volunteers around you, they have great advise. One said to me, "I gave up volunteering for that organization because it wasn't fun anymore. This is fun." If you are not enjoying your volunteer job, go find another. There are other places that will be grateful for your time.
Smile and nod, don't get involved with the organizational bumps. You are a volunteer and you want your time to accomplish something. Getting involved in the organizational politics accomplishes nothing. It can cause trouble that disrupts the flow of assistance to the people who need it. Keep in mind who you are trying to help and focus on that.
Give the time you are comfortable in giving. Don't feel bad about saying no. If you are unhappy about being there, you make others unhappy as well. You might end up chasing away the people who are in need.
I hope that you can find someway to help any organization in your area. Anything you can give will help and if 10 people give 3 hours a week, that is 30 volunteer hours. I have done the first 3, just need 9 more people.