Shopping to serve

There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to suitably describe how I feel after volunteering. Serving others is an unbelievable opportunity because of the potential joy it can bring you. No matter how unbearable my day or week has been, I know that if I can hang on until Thursday night all the negative feelings will melt away like icicles under the sun’s warm rays.

This opportunity is different than the other non-profit organizations I’ve helped. I’ve never been able to see the people that my work affected. Here, at the Village Presbyterian Church, I’m able to help the community members in person. The church’s food pantry is assembled in the model of a regular grocery store. The reasoning behind this design is so parents won’t feel embarrassed and their innocent children will blindly believe they’re mommy or daddy is shopping in a real store.

My tasks are simple. I recently learned to “shop” with customers. The term “shop” means to take each customer around the store, aisle by aisle, with a shopping cart and make sure they choose the correct number of items in each category, which spans from canned goods to pastries. Walking around and interacting with these people is an indescribable experience. These are just regular people who have been badly affected by the economy.

To me, volunteering is an escape. The people I work with are selfless and dedicated to their mission of reaching out to the community. Their love of service is contagious and now I’ve contracted the full-on flu, and I couldn’t be more happily infected.

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