We want to be a company that creates software with a soul.  Last week we were able to Volunteer at the Utah Valley Food and Care Coalition. It was refreshing to get out of the office and work alongside people from other departments. Perhaps what was the most fun, was feeling united as a team, and fulfilling a cause that was good for the community. What does it mean to be software with a soul? I think it means to do all we can to be a company with integrity and value. Serving the community certainly helped us to fulfill that part of our mission. While serving I found out that the Utah Valley Food and Care Coalition Feeds the community 7days a week 365 days a year Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. They also provide other services that include, groceries, housing, shelter, haircuts, job training, clothing, and much more. There is always something to do and or be fulfilled there, so our tiny contribution was just a drop of impact in all the time and effort that is needed to support the Coalition. Upon leaving each of us asked ourselves “Why don’t we do this more often?” The simple answer is that we just haven’t made it a priority, but after leaving I know we all had a new found sense of humility and desire to do more in our individual communities.  So why Volunteer? Well, there are so many great reasons but here are 5 awesome things I learned while Volunteering at the Food and Care coalition of Utah.

1. It’s more fun than you might think

The number one thing that made working as volunteers together fun,  was that it was a field trip, away from a typical work day! We worked as a team together and got to know each other in a setting that was different from work. We got to see each other in a different light and working all together leveled the playing field and united us as a team, which was nice instead of being separated in our typical departments. We socialized as we worked and shared experiences related to the work we were doing. We laughed and not only enjoyed the work but each other in the process.

2. It’s a reminder to be grateful

Recent studies have found that practicing gratitude has a positive influence on one’s mood, outlook, relationships, and overall happiness—all of which can buffer against depression and anxiety. As we were serving someone else its almost an automatic consequence to feel grateful for the things you have. In conversing with several people and finding out about all the different challenges they were currently facing, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for simple things I typically take for granted, like good health, and food in my pantry. That feeling reminded me that I had lots to be grateful for and gave me a great sense of happiness.

3. Purpose building

Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. As we were working alongside each other I couldn’t help but feel empathy, and love for those I was helping it made my demeanor change and I had to smile  — all factors that increase the feeling of love and purpose. I could tell that as we served it took our minds off of our typical worries and provided new experiences that helped us as a whole team.

4. Supports the community you live in

Simply becoming aware of the needs of your community can have hugely beneficial results for people in and out of your town. Before we served I had no idea that the Food and Care Coalition of Utah Valley serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, 7 days a week. They also give services like clothing, groceries, housing placement, shelter and haircuts, and hygiene. With just a little bit of our time, we were able to make a tiny impact in the lives of wonderful people who faced diverse challenges. So many people face different types of challenges and it’s not always the stereotypical things that cause people to need a helping hand. It was humbling and made me want to serve in other areas of the community as well.

5. Volunteering Promotes Good Health

The volunteer work we did was physical, we stocked boxes, washed dishes, ran to tables, served food and were on our feet and constantly moving.  Research continues to find that the benefits of volunteering include improved health. When the majority of our day is sitting behind a desk its nice to know that “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health…”

and since it is proven to make you healthier why not do it. Helping others makes us happier. Can happiness prevent and relieve some of our most painful struggles? Studies show that improved mental health is just another of the many benefits of volunteering and I will say that I felt a sense of invigoration and satisfaction after we helped out.

So get out there and find a service, volunteer, and do something great for someone else, who knows it just might help you live longer with more happiness!

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