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Volunteers Needed During the Holiday Season

Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer – Author Unknown

As the holidays approach, many organizations in our community are requesting dedicated volunteers to provide assistance in a variety of ways: tutors, helping at Christmas parties for the homeless or seniors, serving at meal sites, packing at food pantries and even cataloging and observing seasonal changes in parks and recreational areas. In our own department, several individuals walk to raise funds and public awareness for various causes while others have committed extra effort to the Hunger Task Force Food for Families annual campaign. There is ALWAYS a need and essentially an opportunity for whatever your interest may be.

A recent publication by VolunteerMilwaukee.org shows the abundance and wealth of opportunities available. If you enjoy working with the elderly, you can bake, pack or deliver holiday cookies. As an animal lover, you may want to be Santa and pose for photos with pets. Is the homeless a priority? Help cook or serve a holiday feast to hundreds of individuals. Are children your passion? Distribute toys to families in need. Even those whose hobbies include woodworking, beading or playing an instrument can use their expertise to teach a skill to others.

The US Department of Labor has estimated that volunteer activities are worth at least $169 billion annually. This amount translates into non-tangible but, nevertheless, valuable assets to society. To those who receive a gift or assistance, it indicates someone understands their need and shows the community cares. For the volunteers, the rewards appear as smiles, a heartfelt “thank you” or even a tail wag. Also, it has been documented that those who volunteer are more likely to understand the needs of their neighborhoods and advocate for a cause or change.

Tom Brokaw, TV journalist, said “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” During the holiday season, let’s all work to make a difference in the Milwaukee area. Your contribution as a volunteer will benefit so many and your impact will be measured in countless ways! And please, let us know of your participation so we can highlight your community involvement in a future edition.

Article written by Kathy Rafel, Program Coordinator I, Department of Medicine

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Page Updated 11/30/2011