Good help comes from the most unlikely places. A few months ago someone contacted us at the food bank because he needed court appointed hours to complete before his next court date. We can always use a few extra hands in our day-to-day operations, and so we welcomed “Jason.” (Not his real name.)
It didn’t take Jason long to fulfill his required hours, and then he asked to continue as a regular volunteer. He was a hard worker and put in almost as many hours as I put in on a daily basis. He was consistent, reliable and got along well with our other volunteers. We were thrilled he wanted to stay.
All of our volunteers come to us with a certain amount of compassion for the work here at the food bank. But Jason showed his compassion and selflessness in extraordinary ways. When our toiletry supplies were exhausted, he quietly brought in bags of soap, toothpaste, and shampoo. When a client lost his cell phone, Jason took the time to listen and actually found and returned the phone. No matter what happened in his personal life, including an automobile accident where he suffered a broken nose, Jason never brought it up at the food bank. When he volunteers, his entire heart and soul goes into his work.
Sometimes the Food Bank is a place not just for clients; sometimes it is a place for other folks struggling to make it who find that “giving back” makes them feel good and whole. Maybe working here keeps some of our volunteers from going back to an alcohol or drug addiction; keeping busy keeps them sober. Feeding hungry people in Sacramento not only helps alleviate our clients’ hunger, but also feeds a need to unburden the past and start over. And that’s work worth doing.
Happy National Volunteer Month!