Volunteering is a win-win for all

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To The Editor:
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King.
This month we observe the life and service commitment of Dr. Martin Luther King. A man who asked the same question repeatedly, “What are you doing today to help your brother?” No doubt about it – New York City, Westchester and Vermont may have recovered better from the not-so-recent economic downturn followed by hurricane upon hurricane, but Delaware County is still struggling.
Our difficult economic times are still with us; the need for volunteers is greater than ever and throughout the country, Americans continue to respond to the call: According to Volunteering in America (www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/#stash.pgTunNTE.dpuf), altogether 64.5 million Americans volunteered nearly 79 billion hours of service in 2013. The estimated value of the volunteer sector of service was nearly $175 billion. The top volunteering activities included fundraising or selling items to raise money, collecting or preparing food, general labor and tutoring. Parents with children under 18 — 26 percent of the population — performed 33 percent of the volunteerism! And an amazing 50 percent of American citizens donated at least $25 to charity in 2012.
The Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Card Center is embarking upon its 2014 Membership Campaign with and aggressive goal of 300 new members. From those members we desperately need 35 new active volunteers. We have a variety of volunteer activities from cooking and serving food, assisting with blood drives to events and helping us to find the Margaretville Volunteer of the Year! Membership (only $5) and applications for volunteering are available at the Thrift Shop in Margaretville.
But volunteering isn’t just good for us; it’s good for you too!
In addition to personal rewards, a considerable body of research indicates that volunteering provides individual as well as social benefits: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater function ability and lower rates of depression. (Health Benefits of Volunteering – A Review of Recent Research 4/2007) and volunteers who devote a considerable amount of time to volunteerism each year (100+hours) are most likely to exhibit multiple positive health outcomes.
The bottom line: Volunteering is a win for everyone – the organization, the individuals you help, the community and you!
Susan McLean, President, Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center