Encourage Effective Volunteering Instead of Trendy Community Service

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Target: Gale Holland, LA Times Staff Writer

Goal: Encourage volunteers to dedicate their time towards making a difference, not for projecting a particular image

Los Angeles Time staff writer, Gale Holland recently brought to light an important complexity that surrounds community service during holidays. While one might think that there could never be an excess of good will, there actually is during the holiday season. Schools, companies, and celebrities often see this as the optimal time to show that they care. The problem is that so many people want to volunteer serving food (especially on big holidays like Thanksgiving) that there is actually a wait list to volunteer. Sign this petition to encourage people to focus on other ways of giving back, aside from serving food on major holidays.

It is natural for people to gravitate towards volunteer work during this time of the year. After all, it is the season of giving and the spirit of generosity seems to permeate everywhere. As a result, many people try to volunteer by serving food to those in need. However, so many people are interested in performing this type of service that there is an oversupply of volunteers. By October, signups to serve a Thanksgiving meal had filled up at many places. Volunteers should think of other ways that they can give back. In fact, there are many other ways (and many other times of the year) when volunteers can be of service, not only by serving food during the holidays, but also by providing other forms of help. For example, people with certain skills, whether it be legal, journalistic, or medical, are more effective when offering these skills as opposed to working in soup kitchens.

Sustainable, meaningful outreach is much more efficient  in creating social justice than simply handing out meals one day a year. Sign this petition to encourage volunteers to help in more effective ways.


Dear Ms. Holland, Staff Writer at the Los Angeles Times,

When giving to others, it is important to keep in mind the impact that a volunteer is actually making, and not only on the positive feelings that might be derived from his or her actions. Many volunteers experience a great feeling when serving food to others on special holidays. They are able to give back before enjoying the comfort of their own homes and families. However, whether they are making an enduring impact is questionable, especially given the surplus of volunteers during this time of the year.

Your article in the Los Angeles Times raised the public’s awareness about this dilemma, when it likely would have continued to go on overlooked. The piece that you created was thought-provoking, and one that has the potential to reorient peoples’ understanding of what “service” truly means. Thank you for your inspiring content, and please continue to produce such excellent work.

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: DiAnn via Flickr

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