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In today's tough economy many struggle to give the financial donations they once could. Now more than ever, we are seeing a rise in the number of individuals that would now like to volunteer his or her time and talents instead. There are many organizations nationwide that need the help of volunteers in all capacities. There are also many opportunities in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Not only do these opportunities provide a sense of giving back to the community and helping others, but can also provide additional experiences to add to a resume. Many Americans have had an unplanned change in employment status following the decline of the economy. What better time than now to explore new careers. Volunteering can not only provide a peek into a new career choice, but can provide training and experience in the area. As the economy improves and organizations are able to increase the workforce, a volunteer may be a perfect match for the open position simply because he or she may already be familiar with the organization and its practices.

There are many resources to assist in finding the right volunteer opportunity; these include volunteer websites such as www.handsonjacksonville.org , www.volunteermatch.org , and www.meetup.com . Volunteer opportunities can also be found on Craigslist, Twitter, Facebook , or any non profit organization website. Jacksonville also has many non profit agencies that are easily found with a simple Google search. These agencies range from hospitals and schools to food banks and refugee resettlement agencies. There are also chapters of larger agencies such as Multiple Sclerosis Society, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Make a Wish Foundation to name only a few. If you already have a group that is special to you simply access the organizations website and look for ways to help. Many groups have annual events that require large groups of volunteers. An example of this type of opportunity would be helping sort food donations at the Second Harvest Food Bank downtown or helping organize the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer's Association. These events are great ways to get the entire office involved. Other agencies may have daily needs that need to be met. Examples of these are Meals on Wheels delivering meals to those in need and Lutheran Social Services providing transportation for refugees that are displaced. Either way, there is no shortage of opportunities available for those that would like to volunteer time and talents so get out there and give back Jacksonville!

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