Monday, September 12, 2011
volunteering is good for the stomach...i mean SOUL! good for the SOUL!
here's an example; i am the primary coordinator for "family promise" at my church, which is a program that houses people experiencing homelessness in our church space. this is our host week, and one of my duties is to go every day to "meet and greet" the guests, introduce them to the volunteers for the evening, help set up dinner, and troubleshoot any needs or problems that the guests, volunteers, or facility might have. the bonus is that i just happen to be there at dinnertime! last night i had some of the best chicken enchiladas and beef burritos that i've ever had- and anyone that knows me knows i LOVE mexican food, and that i probably eat more of it than anyone that doesn't actually live in mexico. i'm a bit of a connaisseur! there were tons of leftovers, and i even got to take some home. THANK YOU GOD! :0)
today was a really good volunteer food day, too. every monday evening i volunteer at "just food" which is a local food bank serving low income residents. NO, i didn't eat food bank food. even i wouldn't stoop low enough to eat food donated for needy folks...but the food bank had a fundraiser golf tournament today, and the director brought the left overs back for the volunteers to eat. i had a double fisted pizza and blueberry fritter dinner. yummmmmm. but wait- i'm not done! after that, i ran by a going away party for the current family promise director, which just happened to be a "make your own sundae" party. it would have been a success even if i had only visited with great people and had a delicious sundae, but the bounty didn't stop there. one of my friends told the host about my "freegan-ness", and before i left the host placed a bag full of greens and a small watermelon from her yard in my arms. i think of this as a sort of version of the home shopping club. i come empty handed, i eat food, and i leave with more. GOD PROVIDES!
of course, all of this is tongue in cheek. i volunteer for very real reasons, most of which do not include free eats. the point is, though, that the volunteer gets something from volunteering. the volunteer often gets more from volunteering than they give. i volunteer for more causes and organizations than i can count sometimes, but instead of draining me, it revitalizes me. it makes me see a side of life and a side of society that i can forget exists if i just stay in my comfy semi-corporate world and keep looking straight ahead. it helps me to realize just how much i have, and how little many others have. it also helps me get some perspective on life and has redefined my definitions of "need" and "want". it has helped me realize that i can give things up to make it possible to give more to others. it has also shown me that god knows my needs and will reward my faithfulness. he is all i need, and will put food on my table if i listen to him and follow him. my thought when i started on this road (both volunteering and doing my "freegan" lifestyle experiment) is that i would probably end up hungry and broke. truth is that i have gained a richness of experience and a richness of life that i didn't have before, and god has provided for the very thing i trusted him enough to give up. food. everywhere i turn. volunteering really is good for the stomach and soul.
i learn something new every day!