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Report Ranks Metro Milwaukee Third in America for Volunteering

Hunger Task Force, Inc.
It is estimated that over 400,000 volunteers gave 58 million hours of service in Milwaukee in 2014.

Whether it's working at a food bank or helping a neighbor, many of us will do some form of volunteer work this week. It's certainly part of the spirit of the season.

The Corporation for National and Community Service ranks metro Milwaukee as number three in the country in its Volunteering and Civic Life in Americastudy. It showed that just over a third of people in the metro Milwaukee area formally volunteered in 2014, and nearly three-quarters did what's known as informal volunteer work.

"You really need to measure it both ways - those who are organized, and those who are doing it just to help out in the neighborhood," says Wendy Spencer,CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In total, 406,200 volunteers gave 58 million hours of service, which is worth approximately $877.7 million. In addition to the 74% of people participating in informal volunteering, Milwaukee also ranks third for volunteer service by some of the busiest populations - parents and millennials.

"I think it says that Milwaukee parents care deeply about the community they're raising their families in," says Spencer.

Wisconsin as a whole ranks number five among states for volunteerism.

Spencer believes that the data collected can help non-profits better target the volunteers they seek. "All of this data is important in teaching us as American institutions how we can get more Americans to serve, volunteer and really work on some of our most pressing needs in communities," she says.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.