11 September 2018
With a city as large as Colorado Springs, there are tons of places that need volunteers and with a university like UCCS, many students need or want to volunteer in their community to benefit themselves and others.
Some benefits of volunteering in your community according to Schloarships.com include boosting your resume, by showing that you can manage your time and volunteer your time, as well as showing that you’re a team player, which is an important quality in potential hires.
Volunteering also helps students network. If you’re interested in being a doctor, for example, volunteering at a hospital would provide a connection and a valuable source in the future.
In Colorado Springs, there is an outstanding nonprofit organization called Care and Share.
Care and Share began with the dream to create a hunger-free southern Colorado and has expanded to include a mission of providing food for those in need and educating the public about how to fight hunger and food insecurity.
In 1972, Care and Share Food Bank started by distributing food baskets throughout Colorado Springs out of volunteers’ basements and a two-car garage, which made a fairly small impact.
Since then, they have expanded and made a great impact on 31 southern Colorado counties by providing millions of pounds of food throughout the region.
At Care and Share Food Bank, there is a belief that no one should go hungry. Every day, they provide food to partner agencies across southern Colorado in order to serve the communities in need.
The 2016-2017 Care and Share Annual Report is proof of the excellent work that is done at Care and Share. There have been 19.1 million meals served, 23.7 million pounds of food distributed and 83% of pounds of food classified as highly nutritious.
Care and Share Food Bank has several programs that help the community in various ways, including the Children’s Nutrition Initiative, Cooking Matters, Zero Waste, Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Community engagement coordinator, Eric Pizana said, “It’s probably the Send Hunger Packing program, it’s volunteers coming in every Tuesday putting together these bags of food, and these bags go out to school children on Fridays, and it’s done so discreetly by teachers.”
“Seeing and hearing how it makes kids feel when they get these bags of food just makes everyone feel great around here. We had one young girl who drew a picture of herself. It’s on Facebook, and she said that when she gets these bags of food, it makes herself feel like a unicorn.” Pizana said.
In order to volunteer at Care and Share Food Bank, you must attend a forty-minute orientation on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. or Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. at the food bank in Colorado Springs, and 2 p.m. on the second Friday of every month in Pueblo. There is no need to sign up for orientation. After orientation, at Care and Share there’s more than one volunteer position, which you can see on their website when signing up.
“I really push and elevate the volunteer engagement here beyond than what you just see typically, which is still needed very much and how much you really elevate what volunteers are doing,” said Pizana.
When looking at places to volunteer, ask yourself these few questions: what do I want to do as a volunteer and what would I rule out doing? How much time can I commit, what skills can I offer, and what would I most like to learn by volunteering? These few questions will offer an insight into where would be the best spot to volunteer, whether it be at Care and Share Food Bank or somewhere else.