For the past several years I have spent a considerable amount of time volunteering for various organization and agencies. Last week I was introduced to a revelation regarding the act of volunteering during a meeting with Volunteer Maryland’s Director, Patrice Beverly. During out meeting, she mentioned that a great way to recharge after a hectic few days is to get out and do direct service. Now, I have always seen my position as a Volunteer Maryland Peer Leader as a service role, but never really thought about how removed from direct service my day to day work can make me feel. When Patrice made her comment I found myself realizing that I needed a little bit of recharging time and decided to head out on a Tuesday morning and do some service with Moveable Feast in Baltimore City.
For my volunteer service at Moveable Feast I worked in their kitchen helping to prepare meals for persons with HIV, AIDS, Cancer, and other blood borne illnesses. When I arrived at Moveable Feast I went in with the mindset of seeing my time there as an opportunity to step back from my day-to- day routine and really get into some direct service. In my role as a Peer Leader with Volunteer Maryland, I serve as a resource and support system for our Volunteer Maryland Coordinators who serve others and often this can feel like an indirect/third-party kind of service. However, when I serve at places like Moveable Feast I serve in a way that directly links me to the people I’m serving and that form of service re-ignites my sense of connection to the community.
When I served at Moveable Feast I knew that the meals I prepared would go directly to clients in need and that was an amazing feeling. Conversely, as a Peer Leader I serve VMCs who in turn serve clients, so knowing that I have a part in helping to create that avenue for volunteering feels great too. Both types of services are rewarding in their own unique way, and doing both has helped to remind me that serving one’s community can take many different forms and that I should continue to explore and understand the ways by which I can serve others.