As a mother, I’ve had to sacrifice some things and as my time has become less and less about me, I have scaled back the volunteering I once did. I am no longer on the board of one of the professional organizations in my field, where I once gave too much of my time as President. I continue to help how I can, managing a section of the website and doing some social media, but it’s harder than ever for me to find time to volunteer outside of business hours. That’s why I’m so excited that my company provides us with dedicated time to volunteer during work hours both as a company and individually.

This year I used my individual time to volunteer with Interval House, a local non-profit that is dedicated to providing services to prevent and break the cycle of family and intimate partner abuse. My volunteering involved office work, because filing and getting things organized is right up my alley. And it’s rewarding for me too because I don’t get nearly enough quiet time at home to get things as organized as I’d like!

Last week, the my company shut its doors for the morning and volunteered with Foodshare for their annual Turkey and $30 food drive. We held our own drive ahead of time, collecting cash and turkeys from our friends and neighbors. We worked in the warehouse, taking in individual and company turkey donations as well as sorting donations from stores and helping food banks pick up their turkeys. I learned that your $30 donation can provide food for one person for an entire month and that while Foodshare provided 10 million meals in CT last year, this only addressed one third of the need. In addition to Foodshare, my company has also volunteered in a local public school with Junior Achievement, at a soup kitchen during lunchtime and at the Community Farm of Simsbury.

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I’m lucky to work with some really great people.

I really value that my company gives me an opportunity to do this volunteer work. This is something that would be hard for me to pursue on my own time. Even if I can’t volunteer on the scale that I used to, I’m happy I’m able to fit it in and that my employer recognizes that giving me this time makes me feel more fulfilled and complete.

I loved talking to my daughter about what I was doing. She’s only three, so the comments I made were pretty basic, but she knew I was up to something different then just going off to work that day. I hope to someday find some volunteer opportunities that can involve my children as well.

Does your employer foster philanthropy? Where have you volunteered with or without your kids? I’d love to know. For more ideas about where to volunteer in your free time (ha!), please check out our new Be Charitable page.

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