Reinventing ways to volunteer

By Alice Click - Contributing columnist

Isolation was one of the hardest situations of the COVID-19 Pandemic. There was the social suggestion to “Just Stay At Home” and the virus would come to a halt or at least slow down.

There were personal consequences of the isolation for many of our CEOS members.

One member recalled the many mornings she would awaken, make breakfast and then go back to bed.

Statewide, the number of CEOS Volunteer Hours were the lowest submitted in many years, according to Clinedda Austin, the state’s vice president. This created tremendous losses to affected areas in the communities and the state that benefited from those hours in past years.

Volunteering connects you with others. If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering in your local community is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. The “Just Stay At Home” social suggestion conflicted with volunteerism.

Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment.

Working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.

Volunteering is important for physical health … Interestingly, volunteering has distinct health benefits that can boost your mental and – perhaps more surprisingly – physical health and mental health.

When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety.

Because of the need to “social distance”, I found it necessary to re-invent ways to volunteer. One was to participate in “drive through” food pantries and deliver food to a neighbor who doesn’t have transportation to bring supplies to the four young children for whom she cares. Stopping at the supermarket and taking milk and eggs to them brought them security. Delivering books from the community resource center helped encourage the young students.

The CEOS would urge everyone to find new meaning in their life by helping others. As we endure the upcoming months of the COVID-19, you may find volunteering can help put your life and worries into perspective and give you a new found excitement for life!

With some imagination there is a way to volunteer. There were Mason County CEOS members who used their sewing talents to make items for nursing home patients. Some contributed seed to nursing home bird feeders.

By Alice Click

Contributing columnist

Alice Click is president of the Mason County Educational Outreach Service (CEOS).

Alice Click is president of the Mason County Educational Outreach Service (CEOS).