As time goes on, many find themselves asking the age-old question, “What is my life’s purpose?” The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world for nearly a year now and people’s lives have shifted focus with renewed thoughts of meaningful creation.

The idea of finding one’s purpose is not a new one. In fact, scientists have shown that having a life purpose leads to fewer hospitalizations, lower odds of developing diabetes, and even a longer life (controlling for health-related behaviors). In Japan, this concept is called, “ikigai” or “life worth living” and may contribute to their high life expectancy of 84.2 years, 6 years over that of the United States.

Over the past several months, volunteers and friends Tom Graf and George Givens have demonstrated this concept through volunteering at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM). At the start of the pandemic, both Tom and George had some time on their hands. Tom had enjoyed volunteering with the Historical Society of Baltimore County for several years, and George felt a deep connection to the region after living in Maryland for over 30 years. They both saw how vital food security was to aging populations and cared deeply about their local communities. Volunteering with MOWCM seemed like the perfect way to give back in a truly meaningful way.

For 9 months and counting, Tom and George have volunteered nearly every week. This is what they have to say about the experience:

Tom: Volunteering with MOWCM is such a gratifying experience, and I never feel anything but welcome and safe. I see the hard work of everyone involved, and I’m in awe of what is accomplished each day and collectively over the past year.

George: At the start of the pandemic, I looked for opportunities to feel a deeper sense of purpose and to help others. I found both at MOWCM. I appreciate the challenge of a fast-paced environment, and the entire experience has been incredibly rewarding.

Volunteering can play a major role in finding purpose, especially in such challenging times. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer openings at MOWCM visit: Volunteer | Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (mealsonwheelsmd.org)

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