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Giving the Gift of Self for the Holidays

Volunteer Florida

‘Tis the season for giving and simply giving of one’s time and talents to a worthy cause is just as important as the material kind of presents.

There aren’t many people around who know more about giving than Chester Spellman, the guy who heads up Volunteer Florida.

“This is the time of year when many of us reflect on the things that we’re grateful for; it’s a season of joy and thanksgiving and at Volunteer Florida we’re encouraging Floridians to make this a month of service,” he said.

Once the decision is made to help out a worthy cause, a major challenge can be figuring out which one. Spellman had some suggestions for those who live in and around Florida’s Capital City.

“Some of them here in our community of Tallahassee, partnering with Volunteer Leon, or the United Way,” he explained. “Each of those organizations advertise many different ways to serve. Other ways are volunteering through the Second Harvest Food Bank or through our local homeless shelter. Also doing a toy drive or ringing a bell with Salvation Army. These are just some of the many ways that individuals can serve during the holiday season.”

No matter which organization is picked, Spellman said the most important thing is to remember the ultimate recipients of this generosity.

“There are many who live in poverty and are struggling to just get by,” he noted. “Children who come to school hungry and don’t have gifts for Christmas. And so really we’re encouraging people first and foremost to focus on those needs and second to step out and to give of themselves. Even if it’s just two or three hours a month, you can still make a difference with just a little bit of time and by focusing on the needs that people have and serving.”

Altruism not only helps those on the receiving end. Spellman pointed out there are good things for givers as well.

“There are so many benefits to volunteering, not only are you helping others, but you’re also helping yourself.”

Not to mention the size and the color of the gift are always spot on and you never have to worry about standing in the department store return line.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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