As we approach our 7th anniversary in May, it’s a good time to reflect on the past few years and all the changes and transitions we’ve all been through. One thing that has never changed at Widowed Friends is the value we place on helping and supporting others.
As an organization, we’ve discovered that volunteering within our larger communities provides an opportunity to connect with others and helps us see beyond ourselves. Volunteering lifts our spirits and helps all of us feel more connected to a wider purpose.
Over the past few years we’ve supported several local volunteer organizations and invited our members to join us as we give back to the community that supports us.
Two of our most frequent community partners are, Food for Life and Acclaim Health. Food For Life collects surplus food from retail and wholesale suppliers including grocery stores and redistributes it to those in need throughout the Halton and Hamilton region. Acclaim Health provides a wide variety of health related services within the Halton community. Widowed Friends has raised funds to help support a variety of projects at Acclaim, most recently helping raise funds for their new Dementia Centre.
As Widowed Friends continues to grow, with members joining us from many locations and provinces, we will look for ways to expand our volunteer activities and encourage members to explore volunteer opportunities in their own communities across Canada.
Our members tell us how much they enjoy getting involved in working with our community partners. Their experience adds to the growing evidence about the positive benefits connected to volunteering including blood pressure regulation, a reduction in depression, and an increase in brain chemicals that reduce stress.
Many who have experienced loss, find purpose supporting an organization that honours their loved one. For instance, each year thousands take part in fundraising activities such as the Run for the Cure or canvas for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Even when your volunteer experience isn’t directly linked to a loved one, those at various stages of grief find a sense of meaningful purpose and a new normal when they are giving back helping others in their community . As one person put it, “The volunteer work I do has helped me not focus on my pain. I still hurt each and every day, but I find comfort in helping others.”
Start with small steps, perhaps volunteering to help with one event or do a single task. Every bit helps. There isn’t a non-profit organization out there that doesn’t appreciate even a modest contribution. This gives you a chance to have a closer look at the organization and what they do.
Volunteering connects you with others and is one of the best ways to make new friends while helping people in need.
If you are interested in becoming part of our community or would like more information on volunteer opportunities Widowed Friends is involved with, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn