Congratulations on your retirement! How are you enjoying having nothing in particular to do and nowhere in particular to go? Let’s be honest, after a couple of weeks of lazing around, it can get old.
So how are you planning to spend your days going forward? You’ve always loved to give where you can. When you had a full-time job, you had money, but not a lot of time, so you donated to charity. Now that you’re retired and on a fixed income, there are still plenty of exciting ways you can help others in need. Here are five great post-retirement volunteering opportunities for you to consider.
Over 42 million Americans are “food insecure,” that is they do not always have access to enough food to feed everyone in their household adequately. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can help. Look to see if your community has a soup kitchen or food assistance program where you can help distribute food to those who need it. You could also volunteer for Meals on Wheels, delivering nutritious meals directly to those with mobility problems who have difficulty leaving their homes.
Habitat for Humanity
Shelter is another necessity many people are forced to do without. But Habitat for Humanity works to provide low income families with affordable housing. They build homes all over the world, and are always looking for volunteers to help out. You can help out locally, or sign up to go on a trip somewhere where housing is needed, and spend a few days building while exploring another culture.
Is there a candidate, whether local or national, whose ideals you support and believe in? Try volunteering to help their campaign. This can include making phone calls or knocking on doors to tell people why your candidate is the best person for the job, distributing signs, buttons, and other materials, circulating petitions, and more. Call the campaign and let them know you’re interested in volunteering, and they’ll certainly find something for you to do. Or if you’d rather work in a non-partisan capacity, you can call your local registrar of voters and find out how to volunteer to be a poll worker during elections, helping others to vote.
Fostering Homeless Pets
Do you love animals? There are plenty of ways that you can volunteer at your local animal shelter or humane society. One thing you might consider is acting as a “foster parent” to dogs or cats looking for a home. If a shelter is too full to take in new animals, and they have a foster program, you can take one or two into your home temporarily and care for them until they’re able to find forever homes. It’s fun, rewarding, and really does save lives.
Become a Mentor
There are a number of programs that allow you to mentor children and young adults, providing encouragement and wisdom to help keep them on the right path and get them to college. It can be done either face to face or online, and has been shown to have a tremendous impact on young people. A good role model can be tremendously beneficial in a child’s life, and can be the difference between success and failure.
These are just a few of the volunteering opportunities you can try. There are plenty of others, just waiting for you. Think about the skills you have and the things you love to do. Is there a way for you to use these resources to make a difference in someone else’s life?
Look in your community and see what organizations there can use your help. In Los Angeles, for example, a great organization called L.A. Works helps connect would-be volunteers with organizations in their area of interest. Check and see if your community offers such a service.
With a little effort, your post-retirement life can be just as active as your professional life was—and even more rewarding.