Column: A simple rule for volunteering


In all the busyness of April, a celebration day or week of recognition recently was missed. April 17-23 was National Volunteer Week. April 28 also was National Superhero Day as well as National Pay It Forward Day. It was a great chance to think of one’s favorite hero (fictional or real life, it doesn’t matter, perhaps it’s just a great role model). Pay It Forward Day is, in a way, similar to volunteering, it’s about doing something nice for others.
Of course, it’s 2022, and there are national or international days or weeks commemorating almost everything. Today (Thursday, May 5), is Cinco De Mayo Day, which is Spanish for “fifth of May.” By most accounts, the which holiday developed after the Civil War, is an opportunity to reflect on contributions made by Mexicans in culture, heritage and other areas. It’s also National Astronaut Day, Hoagie Day, Chipotle Day and Cartoonists Day. I suppose to truly celebrate and ring in all of those happenings, one would (with an unlimited budget) have to plan a trip to outer space, have a hoagie with chipotle sauce all while drawing a cartoon of their favorite Cinco De Mayo setting.
Enough of the other special commemorations, though. Back to volunteering, or, to be more specific, writing about volunteering.
There are countless ways to volunteer one’s time. Perhaps it’s preparing snacks for an upcoming blood drive, helping out at local food bank, mentoring young students in the classroom. Coach a youth baseball or soccer team. Give tours at Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial. Be a greeter at church.
Think creatively, and there probably is a volunteer connection almost anywhere. Everyone is busy and probably pulled in many directions throughout the year. Do people have time for volunteering? The short answer is probably “no.” The distractions and to-do lists are probably endless. However, it’s about choosing the proper priorities. While on the surface it may appear that many do not have time for volunteering, it could be a simple case of not prioritizing what’s really important: giving one’s time or talent to others in need.
It probably wouldn’t take long to develop an A to Z listing of activities one could get involved with in volunteering. Pick one. Any one is fine. There is only one rule: have a positive attitude.
Every day presents unique challenges and difficulties. However, and this probably isn’t going out on too much of a limb here, I don’t think many prefer to deal with ungratefulness or someone sporting a poor attitude when helping out. Sure, the tasks in many cases may be mundane. That doesn’t matter. Countless things need to get done, and many organizations are eager to get the help.
The point of this column isn’t to shame someone into volunteering, although Thursday, May 5, is also National Silence the Shame Day, which is defined as an opportunity to continue conversations about mental health and wellness, and erasing any stigma associated with mental illness.
This is the question I want answered immediately. What day of the year has the most special recognitions? Can someone volunteer for this task and find that out right away.
-Thanks for reading!
Daniel Winningham is the managing editor of the Republic-Monitor. He can be reached at 573-547-4567, ext. 227 or email


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