I’m thankful for the chance to help others. That’s what I shared this past Thanksgiving holiday when anyone asked me, “What are you thankful for this year?” Yes, I am thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones, but more importantly I am thankful for the fact that my health affords me the chance and the ability to do well in this world. So instead of focusing on food and gatherings and football this Thanksgiving I chose to spend the first several hours of my morning giving back. As an AmeriCorps member I am all too aware of the situations of those less fortunate than myself and I wanted part of my Thanksgiving to be in service to those people.
My roommate and I woke up at 7 am on Thanksgiving morning and went out to join over 120 fellow volunteers, including several other AmeriCorps members, at Moveable Feast. Moveable Feast helps to put healthy food on the tables of people in Maryland with AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and when we arrived we found out that our time would be spent helping sort a week’s worth of meals for 200+ clients. Once the sorting was complete we then worked with volunteers loading meals into cars for delivery and as an added bonus to the morning, my roommate and I were able to make a few deliveries ourselves. Delivering those meals may have been the most sobering and rewarding part of my service. There is a bittersweet dichotomy that occurs when you find yourself trying to balance the joy you feel helping someone and the stark realization that there are so many who are in need of that help.
Holidays are a great opportunity to give of your time in service to others, but it’s also important to keep in mind that there are hundreds of other days when people need help just as much. We here at Volunteer Maryland are all about volunteering. Not only do our Volunteer Maryland Coordinators recruit volunteers for their respective sites but they also participate in their own direct-service each week, as do myself and all of our staff. In fact, by the end of this service term we will collectively log over 4000 hours in service to others. I don’t know about you, but I know that I speak for all of us here at Volunteer Maryland when I say that we hope all of you who read this will consider giving a little of your time to volunteering before, after, and during the holidays.