Community Service: A Win for All Involved

Thursday, May 31, 2018
By Mandy Eichelberger
District 7
Young Leader Committee Member

Volunteering at a local church or shelter.  Tutoring a group of students.  Building a ramp for an elderly or disabled neighbor.  Organizing a walk to benefit a cancer group.  All of the aforementioned service projects benefit the local community, but the rewards go far beyond that!

In a rural community, individuals, schools and organizations that receive volunteer assistance can save resources, which in turn allows them to have more money to spend on improvements and other necessities.  As a whole, when people volunteer together, it brings strength and unity to the local community. In tough times, rural farm communities can rely on one another and the network of friendships that have been formed through volunteer service. 

While volunteering has its community benefits, individuals can be equally impacted through acts of service. Singles, couples, families, and groups can all benefit from serving as volunteers.  Children and students can gain experience and skills from the services that they provide, in addition to building a sense of responsibility to be a good citizen and help out their neighbors.  Adults can build leadership skills, gain an appreciation for the gifts in their own lives, and feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing that they are making a difference.  In addition to these benefits, serving as a volunteer is proven to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Recently, the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader State Committee had the opportunity to volunteer at the Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington-Normal. Our morning of service involved packaging cheese crackers into smaller, family-sized bags to be distributed to families in need. Through teamwork and communication, we were able to complete the task and it helped us gain a deeper appreciation for the blessings in our own lives. 

Anyone in the farming industry knows that farmers don’t work 9-5 Monday through Friday with an abundance of spare time.  Yet, with all of the work and dedication that goes along with farming, I am always amazed at how many Illinois Farm Bureau leaders are volunteers and leaders in their rural communities as well.  Regardless of the type of volunteer work that you do in your rural community, you are making a difference for the people who are receiving your gifts of service. 

Taking the time to volunteer can make a huge impact on the community, and on yourself! I encourage you to go out and make a difference in your community.