Volunteering: When Giving Actually Means Receiving

Volunteering: When Giving Actually Means Receiving

Retirement is the stage of life where you have total discretionary time to pursue whatever you want. With unlimited options of things to do, and the flexibility to select any one of them, why do retirees choose to volunteer?

Their individual answers may vary, but the common thread is they all cite the health and social benefits volunteerism provides. As Jim K., a volunteer at the Lewes Library put it, “There’s no better place to meet people, caring happy people who lift me up.”

There are plenty of national studies that indicate it’s good for your health, lowering stress, improving moods, avoiding isolation and feeling generally healthier. Volunteers stay active, develop new talents and meet new people – especially important for retirees new to Delaware!

Opportunities abound here. Whether you share your professional talent, such as law or accounting, or join a running club to raise money for charities, the gratitude for having helped others in some way is paramount. There are food banks, farmers markets, beach cleanups, literacy programs and much more in our area. Can you sew? Swing a hammer? Cook and serve meals? Foster a dog? The possibilities are endless and rewarding.

Velma O. volunteers at blood drives for the Red Cross and, at a preschool, reading books to children. “It’s part of my identity, my personality. I’m happiest when I am in the company of others, knowing what I do matters.” Bingo. The gift of giving really does matter.

Have you ever noticed, for example, that volunteers at the local polls tend to be mostly all retirees? The local Meals on Wheels volunteers and advisory board are also primarily seniors, according to program director Kathy Keuski. Their impact on improving communities is priceless.

Retirement for many is just the beginning of a chapter, a chance to broaden experience and character. As Winston Churchill so eloquently opined, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

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