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Volunteer Not to be Lonely

Military spouses know, and we’ve pointed out in past posts, that there is no magic pill for making the loneliness of deployment go away.

But there are things that can help. Getting involved in spouse groups, exercising, seeking out counseling and even joining an online community can help are some of the more obvious and most frequently suggested ones.

But there is another, less obvious way spouses fill the void, perhaps without even knowing that is what they are doing: volunteering. And with the Christmas season in all its selfish consumerism spirit of giving upon us, now is a good time to talk about making it a habit.

A recent military family life survey by Blue Star Families recently found a 68 percent volunteerism rate among those polled, more than double the national average.

Much of the participants’ involvement was informal says Vivian Greentree, research and policy director for the organization — things like helping at Family Readiness Groups and at their children’s schools. Others volunteered at their church.

We’d like to think that the reason we volunteer has everything to do with the goodness of our souls. Heck, our husbands volunteered to fight, so we can volunteer to sort clothes, right? But we’re honest enough to admit that this high rate could also be related to convenience. Volunteering can mean a ready made support group of like minded people.

Like anything else, jumping in and helping others can’t altogether cure loneliness. But giving back can be therapeutic. Why not consider making it part of your deployment toolbox?

Here is a small sampling of some great places to volunteer all year long — feel free to comment with links to other organizations that could use our help!

Blue Star Families
Soldiers Angels
The USO
The National Military Family Association
Wounded Warrior Project
Sew Much Comfort

This is just a small sampling. Visit this site for a list of more organizations where you can volunteer.

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.