The Right Opportunity: Volunteering
With age comes wisdom, yes, but also in some cases (mine), faulty eyesight. Last week my daughter Maggie and I were driving around Libertyville looking for the Feed My Starving Children warehouse to volunteer, and it seemed hidden in the dark. Maggie at last spotted it, and we were able to check in and spend the next two hours volunteering. We packed hundreds of meals for hungry children around the world.
If you’ve never volunteered at one of these events, I urge you to sign up! Here’s the link: http://volunteer.fmsc.org/Register/.
Each meal is called a MannaPack, named after the food that miraculously came down from heaven to feed the Israelites as they fled Egypt. Truth be told, what we packed didn’t look anything like my idea of manna. That manna would definitely not consist of soy nuggets and dehydrated veggies. Later I realized that’s the point.
Manna also means an unexpected benefit. I wasn’t expecting soy nuggets, but neither was the child who ate them. I imagine he saw his unexpected benefit immediately: a temporary reprieve from hunger. Mine came upon me more slowly, the more I thought about this unknown child and the countless others like him.
This year I resolved to volunteer more and seek out opportunities to assist people coping with hardship. I started by offering to serve as a group facilitator at Willow House, an organization that helps those in grief. Since my background includes group facilitating, it offers a perfect fit.
How about you? Maybe you already spend a good chunk of time volunteering. Or maybe you’re looking for the right opportunity.
Here are are 5 organizations to get you started:
- Do you like to read and/or write? Volunteer as an adult literacy tutor at the jail, library or other sites around Lake County: www.waukeganpl.org/literacy-tutoring.
- Love animals? Help feed, walk and care for neglected pets: http://saveapetil.org/?q=volunteer.
- Love babies? Become a certified baby cuddler: www.volunteerguide.org/hours/service-projects/baby-cuddlers.
- Enjoy working with elderly people? Get involved at the Winchester House:http://oldapps.lakecountyil.gov/winhouse/involved/volunteer.asp.
- Have experience working with neglected or abused children? Advocate to help find these kids safe and permanent homes: http://www.becomeacasa.org/get-started.
None of those seem quite right? Call me! I would love to talk to you and help find a position that’s just right for you.
Let me close with one last story: Maggie and I were at the mall recently and we saw an elderly gentleman walking with his adult son, who had some special needs. Looking closer I could see they were literally strapped together, moving forward with slow and careful steps. I knew then it must be their daily exercise, a loving routine affording each a sense of well-being, purpose and togetherness.
My eyesight may sometimes fail me, but that I could see, with clarity.
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that
no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/adamr