Volunteers make the world a better place. And volunteering is the very essence of caring. Every part of our community is touched and made better by selfless volunteers: schools, nursing homes, our environment, hospitals, help lines, the legal system, LGTBIQ+, charities, refugees…the list is endless.

We know how precious volunteers are

Those of us who are part of the eating disorder community know how precious volunteers are. In our darkest times they are there comforting, reassuring, validating, listening, and advocating. Organisations, such as Eating Disorders Families Australia, rely on volunteers – compassionate and generous people who are active or recovered people with an eating disorder or a carer.

To acknowledge volunteers everywhere, Monday 5th December is International Volunteer Day, a day to applaud all the wonderful volunteers who keep the world afloat. Millions of Australians who care. Millions more across the globe. International Volunteer Day is also fitting in this disruptive year, 2022, as it raises awareness about the important role volunteers play in response to the many challenges the world faces.

There is solidarity through volunteering

This year celebrates the theme of ‘solidarity through volunteering’. A theme that is perfectly matched to volunteering. Because volunteering is compassion and solidarity. The two words solidarity and volunteer have much in common. Volunteers often commit because of a feeling of action needed in a particular area, for the common good. And solidarity unites individuals around a common goal. Both share the same root values – supporting each other from a position of trust, humility, respect, and equality.

There are many ways to ‘raise your hat’ to Australia’s volunteers on International Volunteer Day:

  • You can personally thank volunteers who touch your lives, send them email, social shout out, good old-fashioned card or letter. 
  • You can support their cause this Christmas with gifts from their charity, for example Volunteering Australia Shop.
  • Enquire about becoming a volunteer within your local community. It spreads the love and acre and shares the load.
  • Have your say in the development of Australia’s National Strategy for Volunteering.

And, if and when you are able, those affected by eating disorders can:

  • Become a volunteer with EDFA which offers the chance to give something back to this grassroots community and make a difference. Carers with lived experience have unique insights and empathy to support other carers.
  • Help shape the work of the Butterfly Foundation and share the wisdom of your lived experience – you can join the Butterfly Collective.
  • Reach out to Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV) who seek volunteers dedicated to working towards a future where the incidence, duration and impacts of all eating disorders are reduced and ultimately eradicated.

Shine a light and recognise volunteers

Where would the world be without volunteers? Monday 5th December shines a light on and recognises the important work of this precious resource… volunteers.