A new survey presented Wednesday at a meeting of the Lobby for the Advancement of the Third Sector in Israel, held on International Volunteer Day, reveals that during 2006, Israelis volunteered over 400 million hours of their time to volunteer activities. The data, collected by researchers at the Center for Third Sector Research at Ben-Gurion University, indicates that 19% of the volunteers chose to volunteer in official organizations such as Magen David Adom (MDA) while 33% are active in non-formal channels.
Findings further revealed that volunteers in official organizations devoted an average of 21 hours per month to their venue of choice, while other volunteers devoted and average 15 hours.
The 6,000 volunteers at "Yad Sarah," for example, donated a total of a million hours in 2006 to assist hundreds of thousands of people. "If we had to pay them for their time, we would need $7.5 million a year – that's 43% of our annual budget," Yad Sarah said in response.
Findings presented Wednesday in "Latet" organization's Alternative Poverty Report pointed to a 6.5% increase in the number of volunteers in soup kitchens, bread lines and food banks.
"A poll of a representative sample of 500 adults showed that 18% of them volunteered in 2006. A similar poll conducted amongst 'underprivileged' respondents revealed that despite their difficult financial situation, 21% of them engaged in volunteer activities during 2006."
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