A recent report from the City of Bloomington shows Bloomingtonians volunteer at higher rates than both the state and national averages. The city report found 34 percent of Bloomington residents volunteer. The state’s volunteerism average is only 28 percent, and the national average is 26 percent.
Margaret Kondrat has volunteered for 22 years at Opportunity House, which supports Monroe County United Ministries by selling donated goods such as clothes, housewares and books.
“Everything we do goes right into this community, and as I said we’re all very faithful,” she says. “Obviously once you get here you don’t want to leave because you know that you’re giving back to your own people.”
Bloomington’s 24,000 volunteers racked up more than 400,000 volunteer hours in 2011, according to the city report. City Volunteer Director Bet Savich says volunteers can get just as much out of giving their time as the organizations need them.
“People find that they can focus on the things that they’re passionate about through their volunteer experiences,” she says. “One of the primary reasons that people volunteer is to meet their own needs for intellectual stimulation, for emotional connection and to pursue their hobbies.”
Volunteers are vital to non-profit organizations that cannot afford to hire full-time help. But Savich says volunteering comes with a psychic paycheck, which allows people to feel good about helping.