As the President of a large volunteering organization on my college campus, I have been asked multiple times since the holidays have started about the "importance" of volunteering during the holidays. Editors and writers of newspapers have asked me why giving back during the holidays is more important than any other time of the year and I think that's just absurd.
Every single time I get asked this question all I want to do is roll my eyes and ask them if they've ever volunteered any other time besides November and December.
The community I have lived in for the last 4 years is a struggling community. It is full of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, and hurting people.
I have been heavily involved in volunteering all around my community because when I came to college I wanted to get to know the community I would be living in. I immediately saw the struggles the people of this community faced every single day and all I wanted to do was help.
It saddens me that people think it's so much more important to volunteer their time to their community just during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Now I am not saying volunteering during the holidays is bad. I really do think it's a great thing and I am so happy when I see people ringing bells and spreading holiday joy, but volunteering is important 365 days a year.
It is truly great if you volunteer during this holiday at food banks, food pantries, or even ringing bells outside of Walmart, or grabbing a child's name from a tree and getting gifts for them. If you are one of these people, you are the reason a lot of people have food and presents during this giving time.... but the thing is these people are always struggling. It isn't just during November and December these people you are helping are homeless or can't put food on their table. They're also hurting January through October too.
Volunteering during the holidays is overrated. If you are wanting to make a difference, get to know your community on the other 10 months throughout the year. Volunteer on a random July weekend. Then you'll really understand your community's needs.
I am so thankful that I have been able to volunteer throughout the community that I've lived in for the 4 years I've been in college. I have been able to see so many different things and experience things I never would have thought I would.
Get out and volunteer. Not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Know your community. Understand your community. Engage in your community. That is the only way change will ever happen.