Volunteers…Not Just For Tennessee!

Well here we are; the last post of our four week series on being socially responsible.  So far we have covered company policies, social responsibility, and capital improvements.  That means we have one category left in our green certification program at Fresh Air Lodging:  Volunteerism.  Don’t worry we’re not recruiting for anyone!  But maybe we can give you a few ideas how you can get involved in some different organizations.

I’ve mentioned our shoe drive with Soles 4 Souls in previous posts.  It really is a wonderful organization and can be a lot of fun if you choose to get involved.  You can partner with other businesses or schools and maximize the amount of shoes and money you collect.  Use your imagination!  The same can be said for toy drives at the holidays.  We’ve collected truck-loads of toys for the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.  Many businesses will work with someone who is willing to do the legwork, you just have to ask them.

Nowadays there are many more people visiting local food shelves.  One thing I liked to volunteer to do was to organize an annual food drive at a hotel I managed.  We would make it a contest amongst the classes in a local elementary school with the winner getting a free pool party.  It’s amazing how many pounds of food some children can collect when swimming is the reward!  We did this during the holidays and placed it in the lobby around the tree.  Sometimes guests were compelled to join in by grabbing some non-perishable foods from the store next door.  The classes were willing to jump in because there was little for them to do in advance; just bring in some food during the designated week.

The things I mentioned above took a little preparation on my part.  But after you do them the first time, you’ll have a record of what worked, what should be changed, and be set to do it again.  If you are wary of jumping in with both feet right out of the gate, work with a community organization, Chamber of Commerce, or maybe your industry’s state association for your business.  I myself am partial to food volunteering (you know, pancake dinners, spaghetti fundraisers, or chili cook-offs) because I love to eat!  But it is a special warm fuzzy feeling when I see over a hundred quilts that I helped make being bundled for delivery to the Red Cross, fire department, or women’s shelter.  Whatever your business, passion, or hobby, there’s probably a volunteer opportunity for that.

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