We've been the new kids on the block plenty of times in our married life. We came to our present area in 2007 with no friends, no contacts, nothing. Boy, were we lonely!
I was thinking today about all the people we've ended up meeting in the small town we call home. Our family has been able to meet such a wide variety of people all through the same way---volunteering to serve.
I'm not here to trumpet our good deeds, but it struck me that so many doors opened to us when we gave of our time, energy and resources to those around us. We met people outside our comfort zone. People that we'd never have gotten to know had we not volunteered together.
I encourage you if you are new to your community (and even if you are not), looking around to see where you fit in, find a place to volunteer. Give of yourself to others and open doors for positive relationships.
Need some ideas?
1. Meals on Wheels
Did you know that you can volunteer to make favors
for drivers to deliver with the meals?
You don't need a background check for that. Call your local Meals on Wheels director and ask to be put in contact with your local driver. Favors can be cards, crafts, pictures your children have drawn or anything else. Grab some friends and make things together. You can bring such joy to home bound seniors!
2. Local ministries
Check with your church or community leaders about what they do to minister to your own community. Our small town has a community involvement group that supplies toys and food baskets to the needy at Christmas. They work all year fundraising to purchase the needed items. This group also decorates the town and hosts the tree lighting ceremony every year.
Look for a ministry/group that welcomes your children to work alongside you. I've been so impressed with how valued my children are within the group. They are looked upon as necessary helpers and their opinions are heard on all kinds of occasions.
3. Nursing Homes/Assisted Living Facilities
Do you sing? Play an instrument? Paint fingernails? Love to talk to older folks? Think about spending some time gleaning wisdom from the senior population.
We have several friends that volunteer at local animal shelters or with therapeutic horse riding facilities. If your family loves animals, this could be the volunteer opportunity for you!
5. Food Banks
Can you stock shelves? Donate food?
There are food banks all over the country that would love to have excited people volunteer to help with their needs. How to volunteer
6. Interest-based volunteering
Try to find opportunities that match the interests of your family. Love to read? Volunteer at the library to shelve books or do a story hour. Tutor kids, teach someone how to do a skill you love, take a meal to a neighbor in need, offer to babysit a single mom's kids. You get the idea!
New in your community? Want to get to know people?
Invest some time and come away with so much more.