Some of us volunteer year-round, while others mainly volunteer around holidays. We reached out to Julia Turshen, Hudson Valley resident and author of Now & Again, Feed the Resistance, and Small Victories, to ask about her local volunteering. We think Turshen’s answers will resonate with the year-rounders and inspire and motivate the rest of us to show up as often as possible.
What makes volunteering at these organizations special to you—and in general?
Because they all make a positive impact on our community! Ulster Corps. is great for connecting individuals and larger groups with volunteer opportunities (and their Glean Team is a fun way to get involved with gathering and processing extra produce!). Angel Food East is near and dear to my heart because it’s where my wife (pictured above volunteering) and I volunteer every week. Chiz’s makes a huge difference in the lives of its residences, as does the Hodge Center. Look them up, reach out to them, show up!
In your experience, is there anything different about volunteering locally (Ulster and nearby counties) than other places you’ve volunteered?
I lived in New York City before I lived here and have been a regular volunteer in both. Volunteering in a smaller community does feel different. It feels like if I don’t show up to something I’ve committed to, it means something. I didn’t feel that way in New York City and the accountability makes me feel even more invested in my commitments and more a part of a my community.
For someone who volunteers infrequently, how would you encourage volunteering more—beyond Thanksgiving or other holidays?
Our neighbors have needs all year long, not just during the holidays. For more about what volunteering means to me, please have a listen to the first ever episode of my podcast, Keep Calm and Cook On, featuring my late friend Georgine who I met through volunteering at Angel Food East. It answers this question better than I can in a quick written response.
Why is food such a great way to volunteer? There is no shortage of ways to help our neighbors. What do you like about food as your way in?
Because food touches all of our lives.