United Way of Bucks County needs volunteers and donations for Knock Out Hunger

In the United States, about 1 in 4 people – more than 64 million Americans – volunteer each year, donating an average of 52 hours per year.

The most common reason people give for volunteering is a sincere desire to help others, but recent studies show that there are surprising personal benefits when it comes to helping others.

A study originally published in the Journal of Happiness Studies followed about 70,000 people over 18 years. It found that volunteers were more satisfied with their lives, rated their overall health better and were overall happier than those who did not volunteer.

They also determined that those who volunteered often benefited the most.

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Research by United Health Group reports similar results, noting that 94% of individual volunteers say helping others improves their mood.

United Health Group also reports that employer-sponsored volunteer work has additional benefits. They found that 81% of employees who volunteer at their workplace believe that the experience “strengthens relationships between colleagues.” Additionally, 87% of employees say volunteer experiences help them develop their people and teamwork skills.

Bernard Tynes, senior vice president and director of marketing and data analytics at Penn Community Bank, isn’t surprised.

“At Penn Community Bank, we see volunteering as a global win. Our team members truly enjoy taking an active role in helping our community and we know it strengthens personal bonds. When our team volunteers, we build positive momentum for our nonprofit partners, which means they can help more people,” Tynes said.

As part of a company-wide day of service, dozens of Penn Community Bank volunteers spent three hours at the United Way of Bucks County Help Center on May 25. Dozens more will volunteer at United Way’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger event on Friday, June 17. Penn Community Bank is also the presenting sponsor of the Hunger Relief program.

“We are so grateful to all of our BKO Hunger volunteers,” said Tim Philpot, who manages health impact programs at United Way. “We couldn’t fight hunger on this scale without our volunteers.”

Janet, a long-time BKO volunteer, describes her experience as follows: “There is so much going on in the world right now that it’s easy to feel helpless. Bucks Knocks Out Hunger is one small way I can have a direct impact on our community, and it’s what keeps me coming back year after year.

Bobbie, another BKO enthusiast, said, “BKO Hunger is one of my favorite volunteer experiences. The energy and enthusiasm are contagious and you know you are making a difference.

Philpot said he still needs volunteers for BKO Hunger, which will be hosted at Neshaminy Mall on Friday, June 17.

“We always need people to pack meals, move supplies, hand out hairnets – you name it. The easiest way to get involved is to go to uwbucks.org/bko-hunger and click ‘Sign up to volunteer,’” Philpot said.

Why should you volunteer for Bucks Knocks Out Hunger?  Not only will you be helping local families in need, but you will also have a great time doing it.

Although donations and volunteer registrations are down so far from previous years, Philpot is optimistic that things will pick up soon.

“I hope people will continue to step in to help. We see a lot of need and it will continue to grow. We need help,” he said.

United Way’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger campaign is underway and will culminate in a meal prep event on June 17 at the Neshaminy Mall. Through the campaign, the organization hopes to package 100,000 nutrient-dense, shelf-stable meals and raise $110,000 to support local food relief programs. Individual donations can be made online at www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger or by mailing a check to United Way of Bucks County at 413 Hood Boulevard, Fairless Hills, PA 19030. Please write BKO Hunger in the memo line.

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