The answer is yes. Helping other people not only makes a positive impact on them, but it can also relieve your stress, anger or depressed feelings. Volunteering can increase your self-confidence, give you a sense of purpose. I am not talking about going to a fundraiser or going online and giving money, I am talking about giving your time and energy to something or someone.
I have been doing charitable work since I was a campfire girl in elementary school. My parents are also incredibly philanthropic, and I have learned from them to give.
Most recently, I have been delivering food for Jewish Family Services in San Diego. It is the single most feel-good thing that I have done in a long time. Every time I provide food, I think of how lucky I am for my life, and how fortunate, and grateful that I am. People are lonely, sick, and hungry. When I deliver food, the smiles and show of appreciation are incredibly moving.
What is Jewish Family Services?
Most big cities have Jewish Family Services. If you live in San Diego, you must see this incredible non-profit human service agency. https://jfssd.org/about-us/. You do not have to be Jewish to volunteer, work, or use the services that JFS provides.
At JFS, there are endless services to help the community; from food assistance and transportation to counseling and career coaching. All services work together to equip individuals and families with the building blocks to thrive.
After doing my first tour at JFS, there were two programs that I think are incredible. First is the assistance for the homeless. They offer homeless people the ability to park in their parking lot overnight and are equipped with a full grocery store to shop (for free), a shower, and a toilet. The second program is at the social and wellness center. This is a place where aging adults can come and spend the day, have a meal and sometimes dance. When I was on my tour and we walked into the center, there were volunteers dancing with the men and women. The joy brought to these people is so incredible.
After my tour, I decided to volunteer my time at the food mobile. JFS is always in need of drivers to deliver food to their clients.
What is the Foodmobile?
Foodmobile delivers healthy, home-style meals to adults ages 60 and older. This service is also available to younger adults with disabilities that prevent them from leaving their homes.
Meals are prepared daily in the onsite kosher JFS Kitchen and delivered by a team of volunteers. Low-sodium, gluten-free, and vegetarian options are available.
What is a typical food mobile volunteer do?
Delivering meals is easy and quick. First, you pick a day to deliver and a route that works into your schedule. It’s quite lovely to choose the same route because your clients like to see a familiar face. On your delivery day, you go to JFS at the time given to you. Once you get to JFS, you get a list of the people who you will be dropping off meals to. The list has their name, address, phone number and directions of their particular drop off. A client may be hard of hearing, and the description may say “knock several times and wait, the client is hard of hearing.”
The staff at JFS who organize the Foodmobile has it down to a science. The clients appear in an orderly fashion, so the driving is efficient and mapped out correctly by location. You can get all of the deliveries done in 2 hours .
Each client receives a hot meal and a cold bag which may include a drink or a piece of fruit. The client may also request groceries which can be fulfilled by the Hand Up Food Pantry, another service offered at JFS.
I can keep going on an on about this unbelievable agency. For years I have attended the JFS galas and donated money. I have also worked in their food pantry, but there is nothing like hands-on volunteering where you make a difference in someone’s life.
There are many ways to volunteer. You can go online to these websites and find opportunities all over the county. I promise just one-time volunteering, and you will feel sooooo good.