PROVO — US census data shows Utah is tops in the nation for volunteer service. A new report shows 41 percent of Utahns volunteered in 2011. The national average is 27 percent.
For the seventh straight year, Utah is number one in the nation for volunteer service. Utah County residents are particularly good about volunteering their time. So good, in fact, that it's often difficult for people to find someone for who they can volunteer.
John-Paul Hurst says he had a hard time finding a service project for his youth group in Provo.
"We called several organizations all of them said they didn't need any help," said Provo resident John-Paul Hurst. "We kept calling around. All of them said they didn't need any help. We called to food coalition and they told us they were booked out for the next six months, but if we wanted to help out in six months we could."
Will Hains ran into the same problem.
"I figured I'd have to be flexible to get something, but I didn't realize it was something id have to do several months in advance to get a time," Hains said.
Several soup kitchens in Salt Lake City said volunteers may have a hard time getting in to serve during the holidays, but most of the year they can get you in pretty quickly.
In Provo, you'll want to plan ahead year round. But that doesn't mean community organizations don't need their help.
"They're invaluable," said Food and Care Coalition Storehouse Director Heather Hogue. "We wouldn't be able to run and provide services without them,"
Hogue said the Food and Care Coalition in Provo uses about 50,000 hours of volunteer time each year. Still, if you want to go and serve a meal to the hungry, be prepared to wait.
"We have other volunteer opportunities — casseroles, sack lunch or hygiene drive," she said. "But to serve a meal is a four-to six-month wait."
But Hurst said an abundance of volunteers is a good problem to have.
"I think it shows that people really believe in helping out and getting involved in the community, makes for a stronger community and makes them feel more a part of their community as they're serving."