In Australia, more than 5.4 million people contribute 713 million hours of their time each year to help others. That equates to about 1.1 hours per person each week.
While the largest percentage of people who volunteer come from the 35-44 age group (44 per cent), figures last year showed one-third of people aged between 18-24 were alsoinvolved with volunteering.
Even so, charities and not-for-profit organisations across the country are still in need of more volunteers, especially after the lean years of the Howard Government, where charities suffered huge funding losses. Suffice to say, the Rudd Government is not offering any relief either.
Without volunteers we would not have the Red Cross, Lifeline, volunteer fire services, Meals on Wheels, the CWA, View Clubs, Families First programs (the 118-year-old US-based charity, not the political party), Rotary, Lion’s Clubs, soup kitchens and much more.
As the financial crisis worsens, many charities will be stretched. They will be calling for more funding and more volunteers to help.
While governments may pretend to be deaf to their calls as a community, we will need to rally and offer what time or assistance we can give if we want to keep our community going.