In a day and age when everyone is so busy with technology and strapped for time, we are always so glad to see families coming in to the Calgary Food Bank to volunteer together. This quality time not only benefits the community, but the whole family as well.
That was the case for the Fillo family three years ago when they came in to help at the Christmas season. “We were looking for an activity that could get everyone involved. We had donated to the food bank in the past and then wanted to get inside and help,’ explains proud father, Dave. “We had such an amazing time that we then recruited my mom and dad, our sisters and their families!”
Volunteer Services Supervisor, Angela Irwin says that the Fillos are up to a group of eight now, coming in a couple of times a month and can always be counted on to help, even at the last minute. “They are truly amazing!” she says.
“One of the many benefits of volunteering with your children is that you are instilling positive values such as compassion, understanding and selflessness. When I stood back and watched my three boys interacting with clients, chatting and helping them load their carts, I was so proud. Here they were, taking the lead and interacting with people.”
Some researchers have found that endorphins are released when you volunteer, creating a ‘helpers-high’. No matter the science, the benefits of volunteering are many for the giver and the receiver. When you can make the time as a family, the feeling of doing something meaningful for your community and leading by example will spread to younger generations for a lifetime.
Just as families come in all forms, there are so many ways to get involved in your community. Consider everyone’s age and availability, find your family’s passion and explore how to become involved.
Some family volunteering ideas:
Organize birthday bags for children at a home party
Put school kits together at your next child’s group event
Create ‘Thinking of You’ cards for those in nursing homes
Sign up to walk dogs at a local shelter