At Medical Teams, it’s no secret that our volunteers are central to our work. Without them, our community health initiatives and our distribution center just wouldn’t be possible! In every country program — from Uganda to the U.S. — we rely on our talented, generous volunteers to help care for people facing crisis around the world.

But giving back isn’t just good for others. It’s good for the volunteer, too! Take it from Helen, one of our volunteers in our distribution center. She’s been sharing her time and talents with Medical Teams for more than 30 years, coming in twice a week to help pack and ship donated medical supplies.

Helen says,

“I can’t encourage you enough to volunteer. You get way more than you give.”

Volunteering requires dedication, commitment, and your free time…but the benefits far outweigh any cost. Read on for 3 reasons you should volunteer today, then learn more about volunteering at Medical Teams!

Reason #1: Volunteering combats hopelessness.

Volunteer nurse Bess performs a finger prick for a patient named Fatima. Photo by Lauren Odderstol.

When every headline seems to hold more bad news — and with war, natural disasters, and famine on the rise — it’s understandable why many people feel hopeless. A pervading sense of helplessness feels common now, as if there’s nothing anyone can do to make things better. But that simply isn’t true, and volunteering proves it.

When you give back, no matter where it is, you make a difference. Maybe sorting medical supplies or helping check-in patients at a clinic doesn’t feel world changing. But for the recipients, it can be.

When a doctor in another country has a fresh pair of gloves between patients, helping reduce disease outbreaks and the likelihood of their health being impacted, your effort sorting supplies is deeply appreciated. And for someone who hasn’t had health care in years, and has someone to listen to them and administer a health screening, your time once a month in the clinic can be deeply impactful.

Research shows that volunteering can also help improve your mental health beyond feeling more hopeful and can promote self-confidence and combat depression. It can even make you happier!

Reason #2: Volunteering makes you healthier.

Studies show that people who volunteer are physically healthier than people who don’t, especially for older adults. Recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health even found that people who volunteer spent 38% few nights in hospital compared to others!

Clinic manager Nayibe is grateful for our volunteers! Photo by BJ Quimba.

Other studies demonstrate the positive impact volunteering can have on everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood. People who volunteer have lower rates of heart disease and have reported fewer symptoms from chronic illness.

Reason #3: Volunteering connects you to a community.

Helen has volunteered with Medical Teams for more than 30 years! Photo by Emily Carney.

Around the world, feelings of social isolation and loneliness are on the rise — especially in the U.S. More people are feel disconnected from their neighbors than ever before. It’s no small matter: a lack of social connection can negatively affect our sense of mental well-being.

The solution? Finding healing in community. Volunteering, particularly when done over a long period of time, fosters connection and belonging with others.

Helen, one of our volunteers at Medical Teams, puts it best when she says,

“I’ve been volunteering for more than 30 years with Medical Teams. It’s a wonderful place to volunteer…and you meet other wonderful people who become like family.”

Volunteering is a great way to meet people who share your values and interests. If you’re new to a place, or just looking to make friends, finding a cause you’re passionate about can be a great way to connect with people outside your usual social circle. That said, it’s also a great way to forge stronger relationships! Families or friend groups that give back to their neighbors together often say volunteering is an important and special chance to bond.

Join us at Medical Teams

Ready to reap the benefits of volunteering and restore our hurting world? You can join in on the fun today at Medical Teams! From preparing medical supplies in our distribution center to lending a hand at one of our mobile dental clinics, a good volunteer opportunity is just one click away.

The simple truth is that Medical Teams wouldn’t be who we are without our volunteers. Kind and compassionate people like you, pitching in to help, is what makes our work possible. We’re grateful for all of our volunteers!