2020-2021 National Auxiliary Community Outreach Ambassador
VFW Auxiliary Community Outreach: 7 Ways to Participate
It’s time to “think outside the box” during our COVID restrictions. Let’s not use it as an excuse because if we put our heads together, we can come up with a plan. Utilize the creative talents of your Auxiliary members to plan and present to the local Chamber of Commerce or other local organizations a project to be hosted jointly for community exposure and benefits.
There are numerous benefits to participating in a Community Outreach project, both for your members and/or your Auxiliary. Below are some of the most important benefits of volunteering:
- Gives you a way to help others
- Helps improve your community
- Can be a way to meet new friends
- Often results in personal growth
Community Outreach is exactly what it sounds like: services that you do to benefit your community. If that sounds a little broad, it’s because it is. Community Outreach can take a lot of different forms since there’s SO much you can do to help folks out in your area.
But that might leave you wondering where to start. Here are a few topics to take into consideration when planning an Outreach project, project ideas, organized by what you’ll be doing. Whether it’s collecting, teaching, volunteering or something else, you should be able to find something to inspire you to get out there and do.
- Collect Things for Your Community: If you look around your community, you’ll probably find at least a few places that accept donations — like food pantries, family shelters, and schools, just to name a few.
- Do Things for Your Community: Some of these take a few minutes, and others a bit longer, but they all help out in some way. Especially try pitching in to do tasks for neighbors who can’t do them themselves, like folks who are ill, elderly, or busy with work or childcare.
- Teach Things to Your Community: We’ve all got things that we’re good at, so why not share those skills with others?
- Fix Things in Your Community: If you see a problem in your community, consider doing something about it! Sometimes the best service we can do to the places we love is to take care of them.
- Host Things in Your Community: Here’s your chance to flex your event-planning muscles and put on something that will bring folks together. After all, the only thing better than community service is doing it with friends.
- Make Things For Your Community: There’s something special about receiving a handmade gift, and we’re sure there are plenty of people and places that would really appreciate it. Make and send items to folks at elderly care facilities, family shelters, or hospitals to make their days a little brighter.
- Volunteer For Things in Your Community: The cool thing about volunteering is that you can do it just about anywhere, so hopefully this gets you thinking.
“Volunteering” is a big word. How can you be sure you are finding opportunities that are right? Here are some tips to help set you on the path to Community Outreach superstardom. Be a Outreach Self-Starter – Here are some easy ways to volunteer without making any long-term commitments.
- Search your closet to find items in good condition that you’ve outgrown or don’t wear anymore. Take them to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or shelter. It’s also worth a call to schools in your area—most plan several clothing drives throughout the year.
- Pick up some non-perishables to donate to your local food bank.
- Certain shelters, fire departments, and foster parent organizations, welcome new or slightly used toys and stuffed animals. Whether you have a horde of Beanie Babies collecting dust in your closet, or you have some spare time to pick a bundle up, this is a quick and easy way to spread a little joy.
- Pick up some trash. Head out to a local park, conservation area, beach, or hiking trail and spend a few hours beautifying your surroundings. Start small in your own neighborhood.
- Create or join a campaign. You can choose the cause, the amount of time you have available and the type of service in which you want to participate (donations, face-to-face, events, taking a stand, etc.). For example, you can work to stop friends from texting and driving, raise awareness about domestic violence, etc.
- Offer to rake leaves, shovel the driveway, or do housework for someone in need. It sounds a little Norman Rockwell, but it’s a great way to volunteer without even leaving your block. And people, it turns out, are pretty interesting! You might discover something fascinating about your neighbor or unearth a network of connections that was quite literally just around the corner.
“You have two hands, one to help yourself, the second to help others.”