Volunteering - A Means Of Connection, An Avenue Of Service, And A Vital Component Of Community

10 min read MAY 23, 2023

If I asked you what it means to volunteer, would you define this act as life-changing?

Do you consider volunteering your time, talents, efforts, or goods a task that is vital to the health of any community?

Regarding volunteering, Western Connecticut State University published the following: “Volunteers are the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place.”

And, we couldn’t agree more with the above statements!

The act of volunteering exemplifies 3 of our 4 pillars here at Lifeboost. And, when we’re able to incorporate Lifeboost Coffee in our volunteering efforts, all 4 pillars can be seen.

The 4 pillars that guide us as a company are: clean, cause, connection, and kindness.

In the simple, yet profound, act of volunteering within our local communities, we’re able to support those causes we believe in right here at home.

And, as we volunteer our time and efforts, even donating clean, healthy coffee, we’re blessed with an indescribable gift, the gift of connecting with the people who live in and serve our community through simple, yet powerfully important acts of kindness.

So today, we’d like to discuss community involvement, and more importantly, why we believe it is such a needed, rewarding, even vital, part of life.

Lifeboost’s Pillars In Action

Before we detail how community volunteering makes such a monumental difference, we’d like to share with you the ways we’ve been privileged to get involved in our own community.

In other words, we don’t just talk about serving others, we actually do it…rather, we truly enjoy doing it!

Lifeboost headquarters is located in central Indiana. And, in this area we’ve enjoyed donating coffee, delivering bags of coffee beans and boxes of our coffee pods, to those who selflessly serve our community.

As a way to say thank you, to give back, and to connect with our first responders here, we’ve been blessed to frequently donate coffee (in person, with a smile, of course) to fire and police personnel in Indianapolis, Beechgrove, Greenwood, and other areas of Decatur Township.

Some of our team members have also been fortunate to volunteer their time at a local food pantry, donating coffee here too of course, as well as share their talents in serving dinners at a shelter here in our community.

Then, sometimes our opportunities to serve others extends past the Hoosier state.

Already this year, we’ve been grateful for the chance to donate coffee as a way to be a blessing and encouragement to:

- those serving at animal shelters in Illinois

- foster and adoptive parents attending an educational and encouraging retreat in Pennsylvania

- individuals serving in centers for at-risk youth in California

- those serving in ministries in North Carolina which provide clean water abroad, bring help and hope to local teens, and offer assistance to those in homeless and addictive situations

- a benefit event for children with chronic kidney disease in North Carolina

…just to name a few. And, the year is far from over!

Each year we’re fortunate to learn of many communities across our nation that could use a little kindness and support in the form of clean, healthy coffee. And, most often these donations are for those who serve these organizations tirelessly, making a difference in the lives of others.

So, why do we do it? Why do we donate coffee to animal shelters, to benefit events for children with kidney disease, or to shelters/centers for at-risk youth and those suffering with addiction?

Simply stated…because we care.

Elaborating on that simple statement…

Because we believe in supporting worthy causes. As a company and as individuals who make up this company, we believe it’s incredibly important to connect with those who serve in our local communities.

We also believe it is incredibly important to pour into the lives of others, spending time or sharing our gifts (yes, even the gift of healthy, clean coffee) with others to express care and encourage those who need it most.

When you get right down to it, life is all about connection, and we have found coffee (and kindness) to be a powerful means of reaching out, connecting with those locally and a little farther out, to do our part, in making this world a better place.

Volunteering your time, talents, or treasures within your local community provides an avenue of connection, a way to share kindness, a means of supporting what you believe in, and frankly, it’s the first step in creating ripples of positive change that can reach farther than you can imagine.

The Importance Of Community Volunteering

Did you notice the following words throughout the volunteering/donation opportunities we listed above: enjoy, privileged, blessed, fortunate, grateful.

Why would we use these words to describe the opportunities we had to donate coffee? Why would we use these words to describe the time our team has spent volunteering within our community?

Because volunteering changes lives for the better, changing the communities in which we live for the good, honoring those who selflessly serve each of us on a daily basis. And, I can think of no better words to describe giving our time or efforts to these areas. When we give to help or honor others, we truly are blessed!

Volunteering, lending a hand, or offering a donation, these actions not only meet immediate needs, they also bring immediate support and encouragement, and these immediate efforts can have lasting effects!

Consider the following facts about volunteering:

1) Volunteering offers support to those who seek to provide greatly needed services to groups and individuals in a community.

2) Volunteering time often leads to donating needed funds to keep vital services afloat within a community.

And in many cases, as people volunteer their services to aid organizations, they can see the good these charities do within a city or town, specifically helping those less fortunate. This then prompts volunteers to financially support these charities as well, and these donations are often what allow such organizations to operate effectively.

3) Formally volunteering your time to aid a charity or organization in their community efforts can spark individual means of community connection. For instance, when you volunteer your time at a local nursing home, you are more likely to notice the elderly living on your street. And, more importantly, you are also more likely to lend a helping hand and connect with such ones living near you.

4) Volunteering inspires and spreads happiness. Studies have shown the more people volunteer their time and talents, the happier they are. So, they aren’t only spreading happiness through volunteering, they’re igniting greater personal happiness as well.

5) Volunteering even has health benefits. Specifically speaking, studies have shown those people who volunteer, no matter their age, have lower mortality rates, a reduced risk of heart disease, and reduced symptoms of chronic pain.

6) Another benefit to health regarding volunteering is a reduced risk of depression, even lessened symptoms for those suffering from depression. And, this benefit is thought to arise from the fact that volunteering connects us with others.

As we volunteer and have regular contact (and connection) with others in social settings, this protects against stress, anxiety, and depression, symptoms often associated with loneliness and isolation.

7) Spending your time volunteering with animals, at a shelter for instance, is proven to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

8) Reaching out within your community can often mean getting out of your comfort zone, and this can be intimidating or scary for some. But, as you do good, you often receive good.

In the case of volunteering within your community, many feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing so and this leads to improvements in self esteem and a more positive outlook on life in general.

9) We briefly mentioned the opportunity for connecting with others when you volunteer, but to elaborate: Volunteering can help you meet new people, make new friends, and if you do it together as a family or with a group of friends, this can even serve to strengthen your bonds in these relationships as well as you lend a hand together.

10) As a business or an individual, volunteering in your community can teach you valuable skills to use in your work, but it can also lead you to find a passion for serving others you never knew you had. These passions can then open the doors for career paths and opportunities to serve or work in a number of fields.

Aside from the specific, local benefits of volunteering, the simple, yet powerful, act of serving others has made profound impacts on the lives of many in our nation and across the world time and time again throughout history.

Did you know…

  • In the 1700’s the first volunteer firehouse was started in Philadelphia. Both this initial effort and the countless ones to follow have saved a multitude of lives.

  • Many other volunteer efforts in the 1700’s were focused militarily, recruiting soldiers. And, ordinary citizens volunteered their time raising needed funds for the war. Would we be an independent nation today without these volunteers?

  • During the 1800’s volunteering took a philanthropic turn, and many of these efforts led to social reform. Throughout these years many charities began which are still in operation today, assisting those in need: YMCA, the United Way, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

    • Volunteering also turned political throughout the 1800’s and many spent their time and talents supporting efforts they believed strongly about. From these efforts, great and powerful change began within our nation such as the Abolitionist Movement to end slavery.

    • In the early 1900’s during the Great Depression, the United States dispatched a nation-wide volunteer effort providing help, assistance, and relief to millions affected by hunger, homelessness, and unemployment.

  • In the 1950’s large companies began to see how they could contribute to positively impact society, and such businesses used their wallets to offer aid.

  • For example, General Electric created the first matching gift program in 1954, and this set the precedent for many companies which offer similar ways to help employees, charities, and other organizations providing support to those in need

  • And, in more present times, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the relief provided to millions when natural disasters strike. Consider the tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes that have ripped people from their homes, causing devastation to entire towns, including injury, death, and many other means of suffering.

  • Volunteers have made relief efforts possible in such ravaged areas, saving lives, providing for needs, and offering hope.

In a time where so much seemingly seeks to divide us, volunteering bridges gaps, it promotes connections, and builds lasting relationships through a common goal of bettering the lives of others.

Seek to get involved in your community in any of the following ways:

- Offer your assistance and expertise to high school teens, aiding in career path or job connections.

- Lend a hand helping to rebuild homes destroyed by disaster, or simply building homes for those in need.

- Volunteer your time tutoring school-aged children in reading, math, etc.

- Spend some time cleaning up your community, picking up trash, planting trees, and more. Seek out your city’s officials for the best way to come together to preserve and protect the environment right where you live and work.

- Reduce, reuse, and recycle, teaching your children or neighbors these environmentally preserving aids.

- Volunteer your time at your local animal shelter, or seek to learn of any donation items needed. Donate these items yourself or organize a community drop off for such necessities.

- Likewise, donate time, funds, or items to your local food pantry, also seeking ways to include your family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors in these efforts.

- Contact your local shelter (women’s, homeless, veteran) to find ways you can give back. Perhaps you can serve meals, donate food, or simply spend some time just offering friendship to residents.

- Find out if your employer or company is involved in bettering your community and join in their efforts.

- Donate books to your local school or library.

- Donate clothing (new or used) to your local shelter.

- Collect needed items, volunteer your time at a local nursing home, or offer a helping hand to the elderly living in your neighborhood.

- Search for ways to include your children or other family members when volunteering, teaching the next generation the life-changing importance of giving back.

At Lifeboost, we’ve been blessed to volunteer our time and efforts, donate coffee, and connect with both causes and people we support and believe in. How will you volunteer, connect, and serve in your local community and beyond?

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Pam Tulman

Dr. Livingston: Interesting article on volunteering. I have been volunteering since I was 14. First as a Candy Striper at a hospital in White Plains, New York which led me to study medicine in college. Then I was an ESL volunteer teaching foreigners coming to Boston and trying to find jobs. I was President of my kids’ PTA at their various schools until the last of the three left for college. Once I moved to AZ..I am a Director of an affiliate of Call For Action here in Phoenix, a consumer advocacy agency out of Washington for the past 20 years.