Celebrating AARP’s Volunteers

You may not have been aware, but this week is National Volunteer Week — a time to thank our nation’s more than 62 million volunteers for the experience and passion they dedicate to improving their communities. Those millions of volunteers’ contributions total an annual economic value of $184 billion. At AARP, we know how valuable those contributions are in making our communities stronger. In partnership with the nearly 60,000 exceptional volunteers who join us every day, we work to improve …

Help Beat Hunger in Small Ways, With Love

I believe that anything you really want to do you’ll do with love. That way, it resonates with everyone. As a chef, that’s what my “cooking with love” philosophy is all about. I hug folks with my food. It’s how I nurture people, be it my immediate or extended family or my community — mostly with soulful Southern classics like collard greens, soup beans, corn bread and Nashville’s famous hot chicken. Ending hunger could be a SNAP » Cooking is also …

Holiday Food Delivery Helps Old Friends Stay Connected

Carl Goldston is happy this Saturday morning. He is delivering food to Kuehner House, an affordable housing apartment complex for very-low-income seniors (age 60 and over) managed by the nonprofit SOME (So Others Might Eat) in Washington. It’s the holiday season, so there is extra excitement. And he gets to visit his three friends and former roommates, Greg, Fred and David. The four of them had lived together at another apartment complex. At 59, Goldston is the only one still …

Nonprofits Benefit When Volunteers Use Their Professional Skills

As a foreign service officer, George Frederick lived in the Middle East, Africa and other exotic places during his 25-year career. His job was to observe and report what he saw, sometimes several times a day, whether it was groundbreaking or mundane. “You see a lot,” he said. Often he saw things that he wanted to fix, but as an observer he could not. So he volunteered in his off-duty time to help out in the community where he lived. …

Volunteers Feed the Soul at the Ronald McDonald House

There’s a special connection that comes with preparing meals for others too heartbroken to cook for themselves. Making those dinners with a group of volunteers brings an intimacy and humility that cannot be matched. And one of the best spots I know to do that is at the Ronald McDonald House in Falls Church, Va., a place that offers comfort, refuge and care for families whose children are battling life-threatening illnesses. Ending hunger could be a SNAP » Jarun Brown, 64, chops …

Books Program Exposes Kids to the Joy of Literacy

Some people take a fitness class before heading to work. Others jog a mile or two. Jennifer Kenealy, 45, gets her morning workout by hauling boxes of children’s books to schools, recreation centers, youth-focused nonprofit organizations and other sites. These are spots where children of low-income families congregate as part of Alexandria Book Shelf (ABS), a citywide literacy program run by the uber-creative DreamDog Foundation. It is 8 a.m. on a humid, 90-plus-degree morning as Kenealy and I meet in …