Volunteering Doeth Good Like a Medicine

Dr. Earl King, my brother, a pulmonologist who lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, was featured in the news lately for giving a unique prescription. The prescription? “Go get a cat”— four simple words to the patient.  

According to the news account, my brother had been seeing the patient for the last number of years—a woman who gratefully acknowledges: “Dr. King has saved my life at least three times.”

In a recent visit, he noticed that she was very sad, so he got creative—and restorative—with his treatment. 

If you were a medical doctor, what unique prescription would you prescribe? For me, I would write a one-word script: “Volunteer!”

We know that volunteering benefits our health.

The Mayo Clinic states that volunteers report better physical health than non-volunteers. Research also has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older. Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine.

This is confirmed by the end of story mentioned above: the patient now “would like to take ‘Earlene’ [the cat] on visits to facilities that help veterans or those dealing with limb loss.”

So, I urge you to take your prescription and give us a call.  We can help. 1-800-241-8111.

Provided by Kevin King, Executive Director of Mennonite Disaster Services. Article “Kevin’s Corner” published in the MDS monthly newsletter On the Level.

(Kevin is photographed above with a volunteer following Hurricane Florence.)