I organize a group of volunteers to serve dinner at First United Church every Sunday night. It is part of my other job, my job as a Program Director, the one I do during normal work hours. (Unlike Giving Gifts which I do when I should be sleeping). First United Church is an amazing place in Vancouver's, Downtown Eastside. It is open 24 hours a day and serves as an address, a bathroom and shower, a storage facility, a place to get four free meals a day and a place to sleep for hundreds of people. It is run by very hardworking and compassionate staff and volunteers and an absolutely wonderful reverend, Ric Matthews. Our volunteers have been serving dinner there for over two years every single Sunday evening. In one hour, we serve over 200 people a hot meal, clear the plates, wipe the tables and fill their water. But it is much more than that, we offer a warm smile, treat all the diners graciously and share in conversations - some light hearted and some not. I lead the volunteer group once every couple of months. Every time I go, I am humbled and awed by the experience. The diners are so thankful and grateful and always shower us with compliments. It always amazes me how positive and appreciative they are towards us and even more so, I'm amazing at how caring and kind they are towards each other.
Tonight was made even more special, because a 13 year old, Hannah and her family and friends all volunteered together. Hannah started a project to collect and buy bowls and cutlery to donated to First United Church. This evening she donated over 200 bowls and countless pieces of cuttlery. The chef was so excited by her donation and said that he'd been making his stews thicker than he would like because they had to be served on plates as they didn't have enough bowls.
Sometimes our lives are (my life is) too busy. It is nice to take an hour or two off and do something kind for others. It makes me appreciate my own life a little more and helps me reflect on what is truly important. Giving money and gifts is important, but giving time can be even more meaningful.
Lisa Loves! - Taking Time to Volunteer