Volunteers Needed – No Experience Necessary

Daybreak Shelter Welcome Sign

Over the summer, I decided I would volunteer at a local soup kitchen.  I clipped the “Volunteers Needed” ad from the newspaper, posted it on the refrigerator and promised myself that I would phone the next day to get the details.

The next day never came.
That was 5 months ago and I would be lying if I said I forgot.

The truth of the matter is the thought of committing to something that important frightened me. I did not want to deal with the guilt that would come about if and when I decided to quit.  Therefore, I never called.

Day Break ShelterFast forward to November 21…

I received a text from the closest person I have to a BFF asking if my daughter and I would volunteer with her and her daughter Saturday at that same soup kitchen.  I jumped at the chance to piggy back on her commitment.  We were her plus 2.

We arrived at 9am to prepare for lunch.  There was so much to do.  I did not realize that we would be responsible for food prep, cooking and serving.  I truly had no idea. What I was thinking?

We were lucky that the lunch coordinator had more than 6 years of experience.  He and his wife had a menu planned:  Turkey Linguine, Green Bean Medley, Mixed Green Salad, Rolls and Assorted Desserts.  We assisted where we were needed most – food prep.

We chopped turkey, arranged pastries and tossed salad.  There was even a taste testing.
*Rule of thumb* if you wouldn’t eat it – DON’T COOK IT!  DON’T SERVE IT!

I was horrified when I was asked to taste what we had prepared.

How ignorant is that?

Rather than be accused of being a snob, I complied.  What could I do?  My daughter was watching and to my surprise lunch was good.

It took approximately 45 minutes to serve everyone and at times I was worried whether or not we had enough.  As you can imagine, I did not want to run out and at the same time; I did not want leftovers.

We were fortunate to have enough food and lucky for the know-how of the lunch coordinator and his wife.  For the most part, they had a backup plan.

However, it was disheartening to see so many people.
male, female
among different races and ethnic backgrounds –
hunger does not discriminate.

As Thanksgiving week comes to a close I am excited to say it felt good to do for others.  While I am grateful for the experience and happy to have been able to share it with my daughter, I am thankful that our involvement with the local soup kitchen was by choice and not because we didn’t have a choice.

Volunteer.  It makes you feel good.

I’m Just Sayin’…(Damn!) 

12 comments for “Volunteers Needed – No Experience Necessary

  1. November 26, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I love this post! I completely understand that fear of commitment. Thanks for talking about your experience and for volunteering. It makes me want to do more. Thanks as well, for that 🙂

    • November 26, 2012 at 3:50 am

      I am glad my experience was a pleasant one and I am happy to know that my post had a positive effect on you. The couple who coordinated the lunch inspired me (6 years & going strong). I still haven’t committed to anything, but I’m closer today then I was last week.

  2. November 26, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I used to volunteer all the time in high school and college. It just slipped out of sight when I got married. Glad you and your daughter jumped at the chance on Thanksgiving.

    • November 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      In high school I volunteered for 2 years at the hospital, but it was nothing like this. I would say it was the most important thing I had done for someone else in a long time.

  3. November 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    It makes ya really appreciate what ya have huh. I love helping although i don’t get to do it every other week but i do it at least once a month. I’m glad you guys helped out, i’m sure your daughter wont forget it either.


    • November 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      My daughter really enjoyed herself and it truly does make you appreciate what you have. Really appreciate it you know. We both went there with so many preconceived thoughts – they would be mean, scary, dirty, etc. I know very ignorant, but until you know – you only have the images you see on TV, which of course are over the top. This is something that I really want to continue at least once a month, not only around the holidays.

  4. November 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I love your honesty. I have done the soup kitchen… Once. So difficult. We made 200 PB&Js some were with two different types of bread. Seeing the children broke my heart.

    What you did for your daughter was huge! I hope I have the courage to do it with Ollie.

    • November 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Thank you. I will definitely say working there that morning (3 1/2 hours) was the hardest job I have ever done. I can still picture some of their faces. Very sad.

      Speaking of bread, there were so many loaves of French bread that were basically too hard to serve; we use them to make croutons for the salad. Nothing was wasted. If I were at home I would have thrown the bread away. Really makes you think.

  5. Anonymous
    December 1, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Jae Mac, you are a remarkable woman,teaching your daughter the important things in life…giving of yourself…PRICELESS!!!

    Dia (MIL)

    • December 2, 2012 at 4:54 am

      Thank you for your nice comments. It felt good to show her that it doesn’t take much to make a difference. I think this is something she will remember doing forever. Who knows? Maybe it is something she will share with her daughter one day.

  6. December 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Well said. I worked a soup kitchen once in college…I will never forget the experience. Volunteering is a beautiful thing.

    • December 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I used to think a donation was good enough, and it is great, but they need help that stems pass the typical donations. Without the volunteers the soup kitchens would be unable to function.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *