The gifts and benefits of volunteering extend much further than you may expect.

1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” There are many ways to bring these beautiful words to life, but one of our favorites is volunteering.

To volunteer is to give of your time and your skills to support a cause you care about. You can be a volunteer firefighter for your community. You can be a volunteer baby rocker at your local children’s hospital. You can answer phones, feed animals, read to children, and care for the elderly. The possibilities are endless.

Volunteering is a gift, one that extends well beyond the activity you’ve volunteered to do. Here are four surprising things you may not know about volunteering:

Volunteering is good for your health.

Whether you’re hauling heavy boxes at the food shelf or stuffing envelopes, volunteering can make you feel better. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who volunteer on a regular basis tend to be healthier than people who don’t. Volunteering can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke, heart failure, and more. You don’t need to choose a strenuous activity to reap the physical benefits. Even just handing out flyers or helping to organize a closet is great for you.

And the benefits aren’t just physical. Some studies show that volunteering can even help combat anxiety and depression in adults. In the words of Frederick, Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Contributing to a cause you care about can really boost your happiness and deepen your sense of self worth.

Volunteering is a great way to make friends.

Making friends as an adult can be challenging. The lockdowns and other restrictions of the past few years have only made it harder to meet people. But the issue runs much deeper than needing a buddy for pickleball: Loneliness is an epidemic.

Many people have no idea where to turn in search of meaningful friendships. Volunteering is a great starting point. Because volunteering is often a social activity, people who volunteer tend to have stronger relationships and report less loneliness. And volunteering can connect you with people you might not otherwise encounter. Every important cause attracts a diverse group of individuals who care. Volunteering can foster friendships that span generations, cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and more.

You don’t need any special skills to volunteer—but you might learn some new ones.

Many high-level boards only want members who have years of legal, finance, or fundraising experience. But not all volunteer opportunities require such a robust CV. Many organizations simply need hard workers with good attitudes and a willingness to learn.

In fact, volunteering is a great way to learn valuable skills without on-the-job experience. You might pick up some valuable Excel knowledge if you volunteer to help a local nonprofit with data entry. Walking dogs at the shelter might give you a leg up when applying for a front-desk job at the vet. Sorting and stocking clothes at a charity shop will make you an attractive candidate for a paying retail job. Plus, as your skills improve, your volunteer expertise becomes even more valuable for the cause you care about.

Volunteers are in short supply.

Important causes all over the country rely on the generosity of volunteers to fulfill their critical missions. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of the nation’s volunteers cut back on their hours. Some stopped volunteering altogether. And while the numbers are slowly recovering, many charities are struggling without the extra help.

If you feel comfortable with in-person volunteering and are looking for somewhere to share your gifts, consider Upscale Resale. We’re always looking for people to help sort donations and stock items for sale. You don’t need any special qualifications to join our team. Just a heart full of love and a willingness to help out.

All the money we earn at Upscale Resale goes toward supporting women and children in our community. This includes the Doctor Spot, a mobile health clinic, and important supplies for young mothers. None of this would be possible without the generosity of our volunteers.

To learn more about volunteering at Upscale Resale, get in touch.