One of the beautiful things about Memphis is the numerous volunteer opportunities for just about anything and anyone. Ranging from assisting with mobile food pantries to planting plants in community gardens, there’s an endless supply of volunteer work to be done around the city.
Not only can volunteering develop leadership skills, it is also a great way to enhance interpersonal skills, strengthen connection with the community, and most importantly, leave a long lasting positive impact. The impact that a volunteer leaves on one person has the chance to reach a multitude of others that connect or have a relationship with that person. Many service opportunities also help to alleviate the community of hardships that are faced, such as food, clothing, and hygiene product scarcity. Studies show that volunteering helps to decrease stress by reducing tension building patterns.
First, there are a couple of websites to mention that show an overview of what activities are offered. These websites include but are not limited to Volunteer Memphis, Choose 901 and Volunteer Odyssey, which officially partners with the U of M. These websites provide individuals or groups with service projects that are simultaneously fun and engaging. These sites produce a list of numerous organizations that need the help of volunteers, and are a great way to track service hours.
If you are interested in aiding families that suffer from food scarcity within the community, then serving in the mobile food pantry Catholic Charities of West Tennessee is a great way to assist. Catholic Charities provides families with boxes of canned goods, baked goods, and produce that is ready to be prepared at their houses. Volunteers assist with data entry or loading the food items into the cars of the people that participate. Catholic Charities also provides sack lunches and hot breakfast on Fridays to homeless citizens within the community. Studies show that 1 to 6 people in Memphis suffer from food insecurity, so volunteering with this organization is an awesome way to be of assistance to those who often go to bed hungry.
Another organization thriving in the city is Memphis Rox. Besides its primary role as a rock climbing gym, Memphis Rox offers many ways to be of service, like their community clean-up, which partners with other nonprofits to keep the streets of South Memphis clean. They also have a community closet that provides gently used clothing items to Memphians in need.
Those interested in the well-being of infants can check out Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry. SCDM offers diaper distribution and other hygiene products to families with small children. They also have a formula bank that distributes baby formula to the community.
For University of Memphis students, there are plenty of organizations on campus that allow students the chance to serve their community. Organizations like the Civic Engagement Board hosts a variety of service opportunities, with one of the most popular being Service on Saturdays. Once a month CEB organizes service on Saturdays by gathering several volunteer sites for students to serve at. CEB provides a link that sends students to volunteer odyssey and allows them to sign up for whichever site interests them most. Many say this is a great way for students to get to know their peers as well as other members of the community.