How Volunteering Benefits the Volunteer

Here at Salt & Light, we have the opportunity every day to see the tremendous impact that volunteers can make in their community. But another rewarding part of our work is the chance to see the impact that serving in their community makes on volunteers themselves. Many people are surprised to find that when they set out to make a difference in things around them, they also end up being changed in ways they did not expect.

One way this always happens is by learning something new. Many of us have reached a place in life where most of what we do each day is inside our comfort zone—things that are familiar to us, that we have done probably many times before. But volunteering requires us to step outside of our comfort zones and try something unfamiliar, to put ourselves in a situation that’s new and uncertain. This is the only path to growth, and volunteers at Salt & Light will always find that they are learning new skills. Those skills might be practical, the tasks involved in running the daily operations of ministry here, or they may be the important personal and relational skills that are involved in becoming a stronger individual and better friend, teammate, or community member. Either way, volunteering requires us to stretch and grow.

Not only that, but volunteering is good for our physical and mental health. Studies show that people who volunteer regularly are more active, take better care of themselves, and even live longer than people who don’t.  Volunteering reduces stress, and has positive impacts on depression, self-esteem, and illnesses like PTSD. People with chronic illnesses can experience less symptoms and pain, and older people feel younger and more engaged. There is even a connection between volunteering and reduced risks of heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

Most importantly, volunteering builds community. Stronger relationships and social networks are an inescapable part of working together with others as part of a team toward a shared cause. Here at Salt & Light, you’ll find that many of our volunteers consider our team to be like a second family. The love, acceptance, and support that people find in our community of members and volunteers is a rare and valuable asset that enriches everyone who has the opportunity to become a part of it.

We encourage you to come on out and volunteer with us, to see for yourself. You can make a difference, and you might surprise yourself with the difference in you.


  1. That’s interesting that volunteering to help people will help with things like anxiety and depression, and even chronic diseases like heart disease or dementia. I would want to avoid all of those if possible, so volunteering is starting to sound pretty good. I should think about looking for some opportunities in my area to help people out.

  2. Thank you for explaining that volunteering relieves stress, and has positive effects on depression, self-esteem, and illnesses like PTSD. My parents are looking for the best way to give back to the community. I think volunteering and giving donations to housing assistance nonprofit campaigns can provide great help to the community.

    1. Thanks, Victoria! You’re right, accessible housing is an incredibly important community issue. While here at Salt & Light we are focused on help with everyday needs like food, clothing, and household items, I always hope that taking off some financial pressure in these areas can free up some needed margin to devote to housing and utility costs. If you or your parents are local to the Champaign-Urbana area, we’d always love to have you volunteer with us! 🙂

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