During the holidays, we are reminded of all of the good things in life while being surrounded by family and friends. The closing of a year is a time for reflection and gives us an opportunity to set goals for the year ahead. One goal many people set in retirement is to give back to one’s community through volunteer work. We’ve compiled a list of places for seniors to give back while also enjoying themselves.

Working with kids:

One option is to volunteer with the Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Program. The program connects kids with adults age 55 and older in a mentorship-like style. Another similar program is the Big Brother Big Sisters organization. The BBBS program pairs an adult with a child who is in need of a caring adult in their life. If you want to work with kids but don’t know if you would be available at consistent times during the week, another option would be to volunteer at a children’s hospital. Hospitals rely on volunteers to visit patients, monitor playrooms and tend to families that have kids there. No matter what, working with kids will be rewarding and you will leave a positive impact on their lives.

Hunger Relief:

Hunger affects many families throughout America and the world. Seniors make up a large percentage of volunteers at places like food banks and other food assistance programs. Another organization is Meals on Wheels. This program allows seniors to serve other seniors throughout all 50 states. Many of the recipients of the Meals on Wheels programs are unable to prepare foods themselves, or have meals provided otherwise. Whether you volunteer through your local food bank, Meals on Wheels or by helping out at a community garden, your work will be greatly appreciated.

Disaster Relief:

If you have experience in the medical field, you may offer invaluable resources to people in disaster-stricken areas. Retired nurses, doctors, EMTs and other medical professionals offer their time to organizations like the Medical Reserve Corps, a volunteer disaster relief under the direction of the Office of the Surgeon General. If you aren’t trained in the medical profession, there are still plenty of ways to help. Volunteers all over the country can help out in areas that have been hit by tornados, floods, hurricanes or otherwise. You can contribute your skills in collecting supplies, coordinating donations and performing many other tasks. The Red Cross is heavily reliant on volunteers, especially in areas in need of disaster relief.

There are countless opportunities around the country and the world for seniors to volunteer. Whether you choose to stay local, donate supplies or travel, you will be positively impacting people’s lives for the better. Volunteering is a great way to spend your time in retirement, so find a cause that interests you, get out and give back.

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