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Volunteer Essentials – What to bring when you’ll go do good

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Walking around the warehouse – fully dressed in essentials

As I’ve been volunteering at a diversity of projects lately, I came to the conclusion there are some essential needs I never knew I needed. Therefore I’d love to share my list of tips: what to bring to voluntary work.

  • A bumb bag: I know, this is isn’t everyone’s fashion piece. It has never been mine, but I really need it when I volunteer. Voluntary work is mostly hands-on with a diversity of tasks. As you probably will be busy using both your hands, it comes in so necessary to have a small bag to carry your belongings. A bag that doesn’t fall of your shoulder or has to be hold, just worn as if it isn’t there. I usually carry my phone, wallet, lipbalm and some candy in my bumb–bag. If you would like to do voluntary work abroad, a body bag can be a good addition for your Passport and credit card.
  • Easy, comfortable shoes: this sounds like common sense, but really try to pack or put on your easiest shoes. I personally prefer flat sneakers, such as Converse, Adidas or Nike. It’s important they fit well and you are able to move in these shoes flexible. Also consider if you mind them to get wet or dirty (if so, just don’t wear them).
  • Your best socks: next to shoes, a good pair of socks could either make or break your day. Try to find yourself fitted and comfortable socks, chosen for the temperature of your destination. Don’t do like me and only pack tiny mini-socks when you will be working in a 5C temperature.
  • Easy comfy clothes: this can be a tricky one, because if you are like me, looks mostly go over comfort. But with working voluntary I still prefer nice looks that ALSO are comfortable to work in. Sporty clothes work well, such as hoodies, sweaters, hooded cardigans, easy tee’s and stretchy pants. A denim with a bit of stretch or a cotton pant could do well and maybe in warmer weather a short could be fine. Spend some time in your next shopping session to find comfortable clothes that you also like and feel good in. Think of a sweat blazer, a classy jogger-pant or a fancy bomber. If they look nice and are comfortable, you will definitely like to wear them during your work.
  • A Hat of Cap: Either you will work in cold conditions or in heat. You may face sunshine or rain. A hat or a cap are very very useful to bring. When I was in Calais, I brought a knitted hat and a flat cap, which literally saved me from freezing during distributions at night.
  • Lip-balm: makes sense to me, wherever I go. But you seriously never know what whether conditions you will face and a lipbalm always keeps my lips hydrated and I use it for any other dry skin too.
  • Sunscreen: if you would go and do voluntary work in a mild or warm climate, please bring yourself some sunscreen. You just can’t be bothered by sunburn during work. I personally love a good daycream with SPF (recommending Body Shops) and put on transparent sunscreen on my arms, shoulders and neck.
  • Energy bar: I love an energy bar in my bumb bag, as it will always help you during work. Think of a granola bar, dextrose or a hand full of nuts.

But the most important things to bring are:

  • A huge amount of ENERGY! As the work is mostly driven by movement, be sure to feel energized. If you start a new project, also the impressions you get and the information you receive, are taking a lot of energy from you. Try to sleep well before your voluntary task and take a coffee or tea: you’ll be fine:)
  • Your best MOOD. A positive mindset and a good mood will definitely make this experience a unforgettable none. You will meet new people during your work, be able to connect without speaking, learn a lot and give as much as you have during your time as a volunteer.

I hope this will help you be prepared for voluntary work! Let me know if I forgot on something essential…;-)

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