So as most of you know, I work for Citimortgage. They offer one day off paid per year to volunteer. You can sign up for an organization through them or you can volunteer for one on your own. With being so incredibly busy last year I was unable to take advantage of this opportunity. I decided to use my volunteer day this year since we have slowed down a little. I decided to sign up to help out at the Crisis Nursery. The description stated that we would be stuffing backpacks with school supplies for them to hand out. I thought to myself, that seems easy and it will be air conditioned.
The thing about volunteering is it often changes the person volunteering more than the ones being helped. I have consistently been volunteering in church since I was 18 and I have mainly worked with children but I have done a little of everything: cleaning, office work, praise band, teaching, greeting, etc.
So there were supposed to be 12 of us volunteering for the Crisis Nursery and only 10 of us showed up. It was hot, stuffy, little room to move around, and they had more work for us than we expected. Two of the girls left early so that left 9 of us to sort out clothes and go through about 3,000 canned goods from a recent canned food drive. Did I mention it was hot? All I kept thinking about was how thirsty I was and how I couldn't wait to be finished. So we finish sorting and marking all the canned foods and ask if there is anything else to be done. The director asked us to throw away all the expired cans and then we could go. We finished an hour early! When we were leaving one of the other volunteers said, "this was such a joy!" With a smile on her face. It made me think...when did volunteering become a "job" for me? When did it lose its feeling of doing something kind for someone else without needing/expecting something in return? This has been on my heart all week, to remember why I choose to volunteer and its true significance. It's not about me!