Volunteers lend time, talents to worthy causes
By Najja R. Orr, MBA, DBA, PCA president & CEO
The time, talents and contributions of volunteers are invaluable to our society. An estimated 23% of American adults, or more than 60.7 million people, formally volunteer with organizations each year, according to AmeriCorps, an independent agency of the U.S. government that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through a variety of volunteer programs in many sectors. Annually, volunteers serve an estimated 4 billion hours with an economic value of almost $123 billion.
Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit and charitable organizations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers across the city came together to collect food donations, cook and deliver meals to homebound older adults, and distribute food and other essentials to Philadelphians in need. Several of the city’s grassroots home-delivered meal programs are staffed by volunteers who cook, package and deliver meals to the people who are homebound throughout Philadelphia.
“As you grow older, you will discover why you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”~Audrey Hepburn
Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is able to greatly expand its reach with the generous support of volunteers. In a formal capacity, PCA’s volunteers provide companionship and assistance to homebound older adults through the Senior Companion Program, counsel Medicare beneficiaries about their health insurance options and money-saving programs through PA MEDI, advocate for people living in long-term care facilities through the Ombudsman Program, and educate their peers on the management of chronic health conditions through Health Promotion Programs. (For more information about PCA’s volunteer programs, Click Here>>)
Additionally, the network of PCA-funded senior community centers in Philadelphia utilizes the help of volunteers to present programs, serve meals, plan events and much more.
For National Volunteer Month in April, PCA salutes all volunteers for their service, generosity and contributions to making our city and world a better place!
Volunteerism can also include informal helping that occurs outside of an established organization or group. This can include lending a hand to a neighbor by running errands or picking up trash in your neighborhood. Nearly 51% of American adults (more than 124 million people) informally help their neighbors each year, according to AmeriCorps.
If you would like to lend a hand to help others in need within your community, consider reaching out to your house of worship, or to a local school, library, food bank or animal shelter. Volunteering doesn’t take a lot of time. No special skills or experience are required to volunteer. There are volunteer opportunities available for everyone. The rewards of volunteering include increased activity level, improved cognition through mental stimulation and an increased sense of purpose.
There are always ways to help and dedicate your time to a valuable cause. For more information about AmeriCorps, call 1-800-942-2677 or visit AmeriCorps.gov. For information about PCA’s volunteer programs or additional volunteer opportunities in Philadelphia, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit pcaCares.org/volunteer. You can also reach out to one of the 28 PCA-funded senior community centers and satellite meal programs in Philadelphia at pcaCares.org/senior-centers.