This isn’t going to be a typical post. I’m not review anything or giving anything away in this post. What I am going to do is share a bit about what I was doing last night. Stick with me, folks.
A lot of us who are into giveaways and couponing understand how hard it is to keep afloat financially. It’s not a easy at all in today’s economy to feed and clothe our families. I’m sure most of us struggle from time to time and can understand that. It’s even harder, often, to reach out for help.
Every second Thursday of the month I volunteer at my church’s food pantry. Our church isn’t large and our resources are often limited but we are able to run the food pantry twice a month. I joined my church in October and started helping out at the food pantry in December. I’ve been volunteering for 4 months, once a month. That isn’t necessarily a long time, but it’s long enough for me to have a good handle on the people we are serving.
I often hear people around me talk about people who need food pantries and such and describing them as lazy and not willing to work. These people I see every month who are reaching out for help at the food pantry aren’t like that. They are parents struggling to feed their children. They are elderly people who have discovered that their retirement checks or Social Security checks aren’t going to cover much for food. Often they come in with their heads down and speaking in low voices. Often parents have small children with them and you can feel their shame and embarrassment.
One of the most important things we do is greet them with a smile. For the ones we see every month we ask about their children, share in their joys and even share their sorrows and frustrations. We give them what we can, asking their opinion on what they would like and what they would prefer. We put the items on the counter and let them pack the items in a way that makes sense to them so they are involved in the process. We wish them a good month and welcome them back with open arms. Occasionally when their situations change we find them coming back to help us out, volunteering in various ways.
The core group of volunteers at this food pantry are not young. One of the men who run it is 89 years old. He’s a retired United States Marine and this is his calling. He’s a true inspiration. I’ve realized, however, that there are only 3 of us volunteering that are under the age of 50. This speaks volumes to me.
So folks…. if you are reading this and under the age of 50, think about maybe finding a place to volunteer at. Even if it’s just 3 hours a month. See if you can help those around you. The older generations are depending on us to step up and if we are able to help, we should give a hand.
Do any of you volunteer? Any great volunteer stories you can share with us? Let’s inspire people to help out!