Lend a Helping Hand With These Volunteer Opportunities in Jacksonville, Florida

Sometimes it is so easy to lose focus. We become totally consumed with worrying about our income, the state of our lawn, the mileage on our car and whether or not we have a multimedia package on our cellphone plan. We become so busy, in fact, that we do not have time to lend a helping hand every once and a while and aid our fellow citizens who may be in need. Jacksonville is an area which has many needs. Homeless men and women roam the streets without proper clothing or food. Children from low-income families cannot afford to pay for expensive athletic club teams. In this brief article I will attempt to demonstrate some of the available volunteering opportunities in Jacksonville. Ways you and I can lend a helping hand towards our fellows and create a better, happier, city.

For those in need of food and clothing, the Salvation Army is a perfect refuge. The Salvation Army’s mission statement can best be summarized through their motto: Doing the most good. This non-profit organization has operations working in most large cities across America. Their services include providing food, clothing, shelter, showers, family entertainment, and religious witness to homeless men and women who have those needs. The Salvation Army is affiliated with Christianity, and its specific beliefs as well as other services can be found on its website at salvationarmyus a.org. The Salvation Army impacts the community by the execution of its services. It provides the local homeless with necessities, and also assists in disaster relief. The Salvation Army was involved in supplying food and clothing to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Irene victims. Because this organization is nonprofit, it is run by volunteers. I have volunteered at the Salvation Army location in downtown Jacksonville several times. I sorted and organized boxes and bags of food. It was hard work, no doubt, but rewarding in a spiritual way. To get involved with the Salvation army, contact them via their website.

Children love sports, but private clubs can be too expensive for low-income inner city children and their families. Because of this, Upward Sports has provided a fun, active and inexpensive channel to compete in basketball, football and soccer. Local churches host these sports during their respective seasons. Basketball is played during the winter, football and soccer take place in fall. Financial aid is also available for families who cannot afford the $80 entry fee. Upward Sports’ mission, according to the local commissioner is to train kids to excel in sports while providing a fun, uplifting atmosphere. Referee’s are all volunteers, as are coaches, and staff is trained on how to perform in a kind uplifting manner towards the children. For two straight years i have served in Upward Sports as a referee and a coach. It is fun to get involved and to watch the competition. It is also great to be a part of something that helps make other people happy. To get involved with Upward Sports as a referee or a coach or to learn more about this organization, contact a local church, or the Upward website.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you have a sense of fashion? If so, perhaps you would consider volunteering at Goodwill organizing clothes and house goods.Goodwill is a non-profit organization that runs on volunteers and is located in strip outlets across the city. The mission of Goodwill, according to their website is the following:
Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work families.
Goodwill affects the community positively by helping low-income meet basic needs. Personally, as a child my family would shop at Goodwill during tough times. The corporation was a tremendous help to my family. To get involved with this organization, contact a local store manager or the Goodwill website.

Their are many opportunities to give your community a helping hand. I encourage you to try and volunteer at one of the opportunities listed and described above. The experience will be rewarding. I guarantee it.

(Information contained in this article was gathered by personal experience, interviews, and information contained on organization website’s)

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