How to help yourself
| Susan Kieser
"Help yourself by helping others."
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Feeling any post-holiday letdown lately? I understand. For months, tradition and marketing whips us into a frenzy of celebrations, presents, and loved ones. And then suddenly, it's over and we're expected to go back to our humdrum, stuck-in-winter lives.
Well, this year, I found the cure...volunteering. Now I've volunteered in the past, but usually it was one-off events that I pitched in with because an employer was sponsoring something or it was a holiday.
There have been a few times in college and law school that I volunteered on a more regular basis, but I've gotta be honest - there was definitely some resume building going on.
Volunteering has always sounded great in theory but usually my mind reacts with,"What?! You're too busy to help. There'll be plenty of time to do that once you've made yourself secure."
Then I found out about 12 Baskets Cafe, a local organization that serves free meals to the community using donations of already prepared food from local stores and restaurants currently being thrown away. And it's literally 5 blocks from my home.
I looked into it and 12 Baskets doesn't have a weekly or monthly time commitment, has short 2-hour volunteer blocks, and only requires a simple 45-minute training session. Best of all, they encourage volunteers to sit down and interact with their clients in order to really foster a sense of community.
Who am I to say I'm too busy to do something I'd already be doing (eating lunch), while helping marginalized people feel a bit more seen, a bit more loved? I realized I tend to hunker down during the winter and get out less, so this felt like the perfect place to build a long-term relationship with my community and make a small difference to someone's day.
I know serving food might not be everyone's thing, but I bet there are some amazing opportunities for you to help someone right where you are. CLICK TO TWEET
Whether it's volunteering for a non-profit or simply introducing yourself to your neighbors and seeing if they need anything the next time a big snow hits, this is the perfect time of year to do it. It will warm your heart and the hearts of all those you touch.
A great place to start? VolunteerMatch.org. This website helps you search different volunteering opportunities in your community based on your schedule and special interests. Take a quick look and see if anything pops out at you as something you might like to try.
Because as my girl Audrey said...
I truly believe that in this time of great division in our nation, it's up to us to get out there to make connections with the people around us. Who's with me?!?!
Have you ever volunteered and gotten back more than you gave? Please share your story on our Facebook page. I bet you'll inspire someone to take a risk to help another. And what's better than that?!?!
Double fistin' it,