Does it feel like Groundhog Day to you too? It’s tough right now – a lot of people are experiencing winter blues, with the added stress and anxiety of a pandemic that’s been going on for nearly two years. While there is no cure-all for the strain and isolation many of us are feeling, volunteering is a great way to help lift your spirits while helping your community.
Research suggests that people who volunteer experience a boost in their mental health – good news at a time when more than a third of Americans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. This boost to your mental health could reduce depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure, releases the social bonding hormone oxytocin, improve contentment, and activate the dopamine reward centers in the brain. In short, volunteering is good for you, which is excellent news because volunteers are the heartbeat of Utah Food Bank.
In fact, volunteers did the equivalent work of 68 full-time employees last year! We couldn’t feed as many people if we had to pay that many additional staff members to help. Food banks rely on volunteers; it’s how we keep costs low – so low that 96 cents of every dollar donated go directly to program support, meaning only 4 cents goes to administrative and overhead costs. Pretty amazing when you consider that we are one of a handful of food banks in the country that distributes food completely free of charge to our 216 partner agencies across the state.
While we’re always in need of volunteers, we’re currently experiencing a shortage due to group cancellations and could use your help! If you’d like to join us in Fighting Hunger Statewide, we have many opportunities for individuals, groups, and families to help with a variety of projects. All volunteers must schedule in advance – so click below to learn more and get started!
We take COVID-19 very seriously and are doing our part to keep everyone healthy and safe. This includes strict cleaning protocols, hand sanitizing and mask requirements for all staff and volunteers. We also have several smaller project areas that allow for social distancing and can accommodate your needs! And if you don’t feel comfortable being around others, delivering food boxes to homebound seniors and people with disabilities is a great way to get the mental health boost of volunteering while limiting social interactions.