Haven for retirees (who volunteer)

Volunteers prepare trays for East Cooper Meals on Wheels. (File)

A raft of magazines agree: Charleston is a polite, romantic, charming place to retire for outdoorsy people who like to dine out.

But lest the Holy City get a big head, Forbes, which recommends Charleston as one of the country’s 25 best places to retire, says it’s not the best place to volunteer.

Clemson and Bluffton, both on the top 25 list, don’t suffer that same ignominy.

For its insight into volunteering, Forbes relied on the Corporation for National and Community Service, which ranks the state 39th in terms of the percentage of residents who volunteer — 24.2 percent.

Of course, that translates into a not-too-shabby 776,650 volunteers giving 96.7 million hours of service valued at $2.2 billion.

Forbes’ assessment comes as a surprise to George Stevens, president of the Coastal Community Foundation, whose mission is to empower individuals, families and organizations to make a lasting impact through permanent, endowed funds for charitable giving.

“Trident United Way hosts the largest Day of Caring in the country with over 9,000 participants,” Mr. Stevens said.

Add those who volunteer for the United Way in other capacities, and the total is more than 150,000 a year.

The community foundation recently asked local volunteer-driven organizations about their volunteers during the past year.

In addition to Trident United Way, Charleston Habitat for Humanity benefited from 4,000 volunteers; the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina, 2,888; and the Charleston Animal Society, 2,500.

Others logging more than 1,000 volunteers include Dorchester County Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts of America Coastal Carolina Council, Charleston Parks Conservancy, Junior League of Charleston and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity.

The Community Foundation’s survey did not include the host of people who volunteer in their churches, synagogues and other places of worship.

Volunteers in the Charleston area deliver meals, raise money, build houses, read to school children, promote the arts, fight child abuse, visit prisoners, save animals and care for the homeless.

They make Charleston more humane, but also more vibrant.

Indeed, volunteers probably contribute to other factors Forbes considered before naming 25 cities with good retirement value.

For example, the magazine took into account fitness opportunities, and proximity to water or mountains. Three thousand six hundred volunteers make the Cooper River Bridge Run happen. And Charleston scored well for its bikability, a goal pushed enthusiastically by volunteers and volunteer organizations like Charleston Moves.

The essence of Forbes’ analysis of cities was based on financial attributes. These included the overall cost of living and home prices as compared to national averages, and general state tax climates for retirees.

With an increasing number of retirees working at least part-time, Forbes also considered local unemployment rates.

And seniors — like everyone else — are worried about health and safety, so the ranking factored in violent crime rates and the number of doctors per capita.

So welcome to Charleston, retirees. Enjoy the warm weather, water views, dining, biking, walking and even finding a job.

But if you are looking for something else to do, please think about volunteering.

You’ll find ample opportunities.