Benefits of Community Involvement and Volunteering

It’s no real secret that involving yourself in your community can boost the health and happiness of your life, and if you’re someone who takes an active role in your affiliations and relationships, you know that to be true.

Across the world, there are geographical regions known as Blue Zones and residents there live to be at least 100 years old at 10 times the rate of typical U.S. demographics. The science behind Blue Zones, developed by Dan Buettner and a team of demographers, scientists, and anthropologists, suggests that there are nine habits and ways of being that foster the healthiest and lengthiest lives.

People in Blue Zones bring natural movement like walking and gardening into their everyday experience, they connect with a purpose or sense of meaning in their lives, they prioritize rest to reduce stress, and eating patterns are heavily plant-centric and modeled after the ancient Confucian mantra Hara Hachi Bu that encourages mindful food consumption, so you don’t over-eat. Additionally, most Blue Zone inhabitants enjoy a glass or two of alcohol daily, regularly participate in some kind of faith-based practices (religious denomination or spirituality type doesn’t matter), live near and around their loved ones, and belong to supportive social circles.

Getting involved with Forgotten Harvest’s mission can check many of these boxes for you, though we’ll leave the 5 o’clock libation up to you.

MORE: What we do at Forgotten Harvest

Increased Mental, Physical, and Community Health

Many studies have been done to demonstrate the benefits of community involvement and volunteering, not just for the organization or institution one volunteers their time and talents to, but also for the mental and physical health of the volunteer and the overall wellbeing of a community.

In these studies, it’s shown that dedicating some of your energy to a cause you believe in promotes prosperity in many ways including:

  • Expanding your network of friends, peers, and professional connections.
  • Strengthening ties to and reinforcing care for your community, giving you a deeper sense of connection to your surroundings.
  • Providing a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes naturally when you give to others.
  • Developing and sharpening your social skills as you interact with diverse groups of people.
  • Teaching valuable job skills like teamwork, communication, task management, and problem solving.
  • Encouraging physical activity to keep the body moving, which is particularly beneficial for older populations and people at risk of or living with heart disease and chronic pain.
  • Boosting mental health, reducing stress, and combatting depression by keeping you in contact with a regular support system, allowing you to give and receive feelings of gratitude and appreciation, and fostering a sense of pride in your identity.
  • Empowering citizens to engage their knowledge and skills in solution-making for issues in their own community.

Volunteering is a great way to keep both the brain and body engaged. It’s an excellent practice to build with children to instill the lesson that there is value in helping others, giving back to your community, and making a positive difference in others’ lives — and it’s not a bad reminder for the rest of us.

When you volunteer at Forgotten Harvest, you can feel good knowing that you are making a positive impact in the lives of food insecure metro Detroiters while also feeling satisfied that you’re generating a positive impact in your own life.

Whether you join us in our distribution center, Client Choice Market, mobile pantries, or Forgotten Harvest Farms, you’re directly contributing to providing nutritious food to our neighbors in need and creating a better, healthier community for us all. Visit our volunteer page to check out the many opportunities to get involved in our mission, and know we are so grateful for your support and participation.