Senior Center

3 Organizations You Should Volunteer With

By Jan Bolder - May 2, 2014

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Being a senior in retirement means extra time on your hands, and channeling that toward a volunteer organization is a great way of making use of it. With the country’s population being so large, there are thousands of good organizations you could donate your time to, with each of them equally in need. But there are a few organizations that pop out right away, partly because they’ve been around for so long and partly because the opportunity to volunteer for them is available across the country.

Meals on Wheels

One of the largest volunteer organizations in the world, Meals on Wheels operates here in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Its earliest roots are traced back to 1943 in the UK when the program was started as a war effort, when the Blitz necessitated food delivery to those who weren’t able to go out into the community. Nine years later, the Australian base got started, followed by the American one after two years and finishing up with the Canadian program in 1963.

Specifically, the American Meals on Wheels program consists of over 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs and has a volunteer corps of more than 2 million. Together, everyone contributes to deliver heatable meals to over 2.5 million seniors across the country, making this organization a valuable and necessary resource.

The Humane Society

In terms of size, the Humane Society of the United States is the largest non-profit organization in the world that helps animals. They’ve been around since 1954, the same year Meals on Wheels got its American start, and advocates on the behalf of animals, who can’t advocate for themselves.

While the Humane Society doesn’t actually run animal shelters or agencies — you’d have to look at organizations like the ASPCA or other local shelters — you can give your time to help provide more awareness of the typical issues animals face.

Red Cross

Blood is one of the most basic — and important — way lives are saved. Each year, the American Red Cross faces shortages in both the amount of blood donated and the people available to help out at blood drives. Even something as simple as providing juice and cookies at the end of the blood donation makes a huge difference, for without that service, the whole process would be as cold and dry as a doctor’s appointment.

The other great thing about the Red Cross is its flexibility. Blood drives are held throughout the year and at various locations, which means there’s always a chance for you to volunteer when your schedule allows it. And if you want a more involved role, there may be office work available for you, too.

Volunteering is a fantastic way to spend your retirement as a senior, as it gives structure to your day, gives you a shameless excuse to socialize, and makes you feel good by contributing to something worthwhile. These three organizations exemplify that fully by advocating for good, needed causes, and placing themselves all over the country for easy access. And while there may be only three organizations on this list, there are millions more in the country, so pick up the Yellow Pages and find something near and dear to your heart.