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Southwest Florida community gives back, despite state’s low volunteering rank

How often do you volunteer? If it’s not on your list of priorities, you’re not alone.

According to WalletHub, Florida ranks last in volunteering compared to the rest of the country.

Our state ranks 37th overall, including donations to charity and community service.

So how does this affect Southwest Florida non-profits?

It’s Christmas time at the Salvation Army, which means now, more than ever, they need all hands on deck to help with presents and spreading holiday cheer.

“We have the best volunteers, we think, at the Salvation Army. But here’s the thing- we need more,” said Major Carlyle Gargis. More, because there’s a greater need out there this year than years past.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has 4,000 volunteers and right now they need all the help they can get.

“We’re so fortunate to have so many people in the community willing to give their time,” said Barbara Evans.

At the Gulf Coast Humane Society, volunteers touch every aspect of the operation.

“We have volunteers that answer phones, do paperwork, walk dogs, socialize cats, give baths,” said Jennifer Galloway.

Salvation Army volunteer Ruth Oleska urges everyone to make the time to help others, especially during the holidays.

Reflecting on what the organization has meant to her, she can’t help but tear up.

“I think they would feel a real spiritual sense of Christmas if they did, it’s just a wonderful time of the year to give back,” she said.

While WalletHub ranks the state 50th for volunteering, Southwest Florida is a generous community.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Briana Harvath
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