Have you ever thought about the impact your military post has on the community outside the gate? As military members and families, we affect the way of life in the area in which we reside. Whether the impact is positive or negative, is up to us. Many of us volunteer within the military community but have never thought about volunteering outside our military base. It is not only important that we interact with the community, but that we give back as well.
Recently, I began volunteering within the city outside our military post. I found a local non-profit organization that provides shelter, food, and clothing to the local community. I reached out to them to find out if there was anything that the soldiers and families members here on Fort Drum could do to ease their burden of providing for the community. Since then, with the help of my husband’s unit, we have helped provide food and labor for their organization. Want to do the same?
Here are a few ways you can help the community you live in:
Reach out to a local organization
Do a little research. Find out what non-profit organizations are near your duty station. You can google non-profits near me or check out Volunteer Match. What’s great about Volunteer Match is that you can specifically find a cause to volunteer for that is in line with your beliefs or purpose. You can find opportunities to work with pets, children, or building homes. If there is a service for it, there is more than likely a need for volunteers.
Ask your friends to come along
Having friends, co-workers, or even family members volunteer with you helps build a sense of togetherness and will also inspire others to give volunteering a try! Find a cause that you all want to advocate for and do it! Get together and make a difference! One day of volunteering, one meal, or one dollar can help change someone’s life. Did you know that helping others, also helps you? Helping others can help you live longer, reduce stress levels, and even relieve chronic pain.
Organize a food or clothing drive
As military members we move quite often. Having a food or clothing drive will not just help the community, but it will also help your friends and neighbors get rid of things as they prepare to move. Call around to local homeless shelters or soup kitchens to find out where your donations are most needed. Make a Facebook post or create fliers asking for donations. Designate a date and location for donation drop offs. Once you’ve collected a good amount of donations, transport them to your chosen non-profit. This is a great way to identify and provide for the needs of your community.
There are so many ways you can integrate yourself into the community outside the gates of your military post. Volunteering, donating items, and advocating are just a few of the ways you can help foster positive relationships between the military community and the community outside the gates. We rely on our surrounding community to support us. They should trust that we will do the same.