How long have you been volunteering and in what capacity? How often do you volunteer?
I have been volunteering at the food pantry for about 8 years. I started helping to distribute food to the clients with our youth group. Several years ago I took the training to be an interviewer. I love that position because it gives me a chance to hear people’s stories and to be a listening ear. Once in a while I even get to pray with them, if they asked. I only volunteer once a month so I work 2 1/2 hours. For the past year I have also been the volunteer supervisor for the Clothes Hanger. As supervisor my hours are less regular. I am support for the volunteer director, organize and promote workdays and try to always help on workdays. It probably averages 3 hours per month. I also help, along with members of our congregation once a year to serve the Simple Supper
What motivates you to volunteer for Caring Hands?
What motivates me to volunteer is my faith. I try very hard to live by Jesus’ words; When I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty, you gave me a drink, I was shivering and you gave me clothes…Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, you failed to do it to me.” The Message.
Describe one experience that happened while you were volunteering that was very special to you?
I have so many it is hard to choose. Watching the growing look of understanding on the face of one of our youth after a night of filling boxes of food. Comforting a man whose wife has chosen not to undergo chemotherapy because they have no insurance. Trying to help a young mother traverse through the mounds of paperwork to get rent assistance because it is the first time her family has ever needed help; but the father has been laid off and one of the children has been very ill and she lost her job because she missed too much work caring for the child.
What do you think is important for others to know about Caring Hands and its programs?
I think it is important for people to know that seven congregations from six denominations can work together and support a common mission because they all care about the children of God. I think it is important for people to know that although Caring Hands Outreach is a religious based mission it does not discriminate. Our doors are open to all people who are in need and live within our mission area. I think it is important for them to know that CHO is totally run by volunteers and is overseen by a board of volunteers that represent the seven congregations and Central Place. I think we have a unique partnership with Central Place which has helped us grow and doing more and better work.