On Volunteering


I have read in many books, newspapers, and periodicals (Does this give away my age? I hope so!) that volunteering and helping others does make you feel better. If you are wallowing, in the dumps, sad, or even depressed, get off of the couch and go out and do something for someone else. Do these words ring true for you? They do for me.

If work or stupid things (or stupid people) get you down, as they often do for me, plan to help others and you will forget your woes and concentrate on others who really have more problems, troubles, or a life that you cannot even begin to understand. Volunteering will provide you a new perspective all the while doing good for others.


This past weekend I volunteered at a FSW/NY (Family Services of Westchester) event sponsored by a charity called The Sharing Shelf.  I found this particular charity on the AARP volunteer website (Does this give away my age? Again, I hope so). Their mission is to collect donated clothing, in generally good condition, and then sort and distribute the clothes to children and teens that need it. I arrived, learned the ropes, and quickly became a champion sorter. More clothing than you can imagine was donated. Items were divided by size and sex. Even the cast-off items were donated to a group that would distribute them. Outfits were assembled by the sorting teams and placed in large bags for pick-up the next day. 

I could only imagine that faces of the children when they received these bags of new clothing. I felt really great about this work and soon forgot the petty issues and people who had nearly ruined my day.


This past weekend’s event was specifically for teenage girls. I arrived and was assigned shoe-sorting duty. Even though all of the shoes had been pre-sorted, I helped out by placing them on the right size table and arranging them in an eye-catching display (those are my words). My rubber band collection, which had held the shoes together, was substantial. Upon completion of that task, I volunteered to do a job that was far more difficult than I had ever imagined that it would be. I became a personal shopper for a teenage girl. It sounded easy but also took more time than I thought it would. I had to organize outfits, dresses, shoes, purses, scarfs, jewelry, and outerwear for a young lady that I had never met. Oh dear.

I have a personal bias towards floral patterns but I knew that no teenager would be caught dead wearing flowers of any sort. So, I did what any adult shopping for a teen should do: buy exactly the opposite of what I would wear and it would be fine!


I struggled at first but then began checking my selections with a fellow teenage shopper. Seems that I was right on the mark. I chose items that would suit most teenagers, follow the school dress code, please the parents, and looked age appropriate. This took a lot of time but I was really happy with my bag full of outfits that I had assembled. (If I am invited back to shop at another event, I will know that I chose wisely.  So far, I have received no complaints.)

So feisty women, always lend a hand when and where you can. It can be as simple as babysitting nieces and nephews (I'm doing that), taking someone to medical appointments (doing that, also), or even shopping at my favorite store, Target, for a neighbor (always happy to do that, too). When you finish your volunteering, you regain your smile, you have much-improved mood, and you know that you have done your part to improve our world, to make it a better place. 

You also meet great people while volunteering and help others. There is always potential for new friends, new partners. Open up your world when you are feeling down and you will be surprised at how great you will feel!  What could be a better way, feisty ladies, than to spend an afternoon doing this?