Volunteering as a way of life…

“Would it be so bad if the rest of us became more attuned to the values and can-do spirit our veterans have brought home from the military?” –from Joe Klein’s TIME Magazine cover story, “Can Service Save Us?” (June 20, 2013)
As Klein’s TIME article makes clear, many of our nation’s veterans set an example for us that we would be wise to follow: Helping others is a way to help ourselves as well.

Time and time again (no pun intended), we hear from volunteers that they joined us at the armory to do some good for others, but came away from the experience convinced they received back more than they gave….Good feelings…new, like-minded friends…and happy memories of a day well spent.

The measurable physical and psychological benefits of service have been studied. Klein shares details from an Ohio State University study where two groups of elderly patients in senior day care were asked to make gift baskets.

“One group made them for themselves; a second group was told they were making the Sr Citizen Volunteerbaskets for homeless people in their community,” Klein writes. “The second group experienced a greater sense of satisfaction and psychological well-being than those who were simply making the baskets for themselves.”

Klein goes on to quote Barbara Van Dahlen, the founder of Give an Hour, a group of mental-health counselors who work with veterans: “Service enables them to find their value outside their own suffering,” Van Dahlen says. “I don’t think there’s a mental-health professional on the planet who would disagree with the basic principle that serving others is therapeutic. This is not rocket science.

Volunteers of all ages who don’t live near our Los Angeles-based Operation Gratitude headquarters still find a variety of ways to be involved — writing letters, knitting scarves, making paracord “Survival” bracelets, organizing collection drives, recycling cell phones — and they tell us more of the same: “It’s a blessing to be able to help give back to those who have given so much!” (Read My Operation Gratitude Story: Nancy Pappas as an example!)

Our thanks to Joe Klein for highlighting the wonderful work our veterans are doing, and forVolunteers 6-15 inspiring us to keep up what we’re doing to support them — and all our amazing military!

Read Joe Klein’s article in its entirety here: Can Service Save Us?

Please visit our website to learn about more ways to be involved with Operation Gratitude — no matter where you live!

(TIME Magazine cover credits: Photo-Illustration by Andrew B. Myers for TIME; styling by Kirsten Reader; typography by Joe Zeff Design. Operation Gratitude photos by Bernard “Camera Guy” Falkin.)

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages.
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2 Responses to Volunteering as a way of life…

  1. Pingback: What Does Operation Gratitude Do? | Operation Gratitude Blog

  2. faseidl says:

    I applaud the valuable work done by veteran groups, and on that point, the TIME article is very well done. But I’m disappointed that author Joe Klein used the article to take a (factually incorrect) swipe at secular humanist groups. And I’m disappointed TIME’s editors would let that slide by.

    There’s enough bigotry in the world. Mr. Klein should not have aired his in an otherwise worthy article.


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