What Does Volunteering Mean to You?

By Simone Carvalho, Jersey Cares’ newest Service Events Manager

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Even after years of working with volunteers, I still find myself astounded by their benevolence. From individuals to families, Scout Troops to Fortune 500 companies- volunteers can take many forms but the spirit of generosity is identical.

What is this goodwill I speak of? It is the 17,341 Jersey Cares volunteers who donated 63,730 hours of their time to 410 agencies across New Jersey in just 2014.

These numbers leave me astonished because:

  •  17,341 is more than the entire population living in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.
  • You would have to volunteer 24 hours a day for 27 years to accumulate 63,730 service hours.
  • According to the Independent Sector, a volunteer hour in New Jersey is valued at $25.33. In 2014, our volunteers’ service was worth $1,614,280.90!

These numbers only just begin to quantify the enormous value of service because we can’t measure the smiles, bonds formed, or how a community has strengthened. But we can ensure the continued success and expansion of volunteer projects across the state. Jersey Cares strives to increase the level of meaningful volunteer engagement by creating and managing efficient, impactful projects that address critical community-identified needs.

We are celebrating National Volunteer Week 2015 by highlighting opportunities to #GiveBack and #BeTheChange with @JerseyCares on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram throughout #NVW2015.

Tag us @JerseyCares and tell us what VOLUNTEERING means to you!

– Simone Carvalho

Plumping Up Your Piggy Bank

With Tax Day rapidly approaching, making sure you are financially prepared for a disaster is very important when discussing emergency preparedness. Emergency preparedness means more than just determining the disasters in your community and storing enough water and food supplies. Insuring you and your family are financially ready for a disaster is just as important.

Follow these steps to become financially prepared for the next emergency:

  • Plan early and use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to help identify important documents for your family (e.g. medical records, household contracts, etc.) and put them in a safe place
  • Enroll in Go Direct, an electronic payment system to insure the quickest delivery of federal benefits
  • Plan ahead of time to recover from the disaster. It’s important to insure your family has time to get back on their feet following a disaster

first aidOnce you and your family have financially planned for a disaster, there are ways to volunteer to help your community become prepared as well. If you are qualified to prepare taxes, reach out to your local nonprofit organizations and offer to help community members prepare their taxes for free.

For more information and resources on how to prepare financially for a disaster, please visit www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness .