by Ruel Russell
Many times, the contributions we make as individuals feel insignificant. If we engage our minds and the heart, we can make a difference. What may not seem like a big deal, can easily be to others. Volunteering in something of importance to you or someone you know can provide invaluable benefits.
I volunteer at my church’s food shelf, a program that we perform one Saturday a month and is open to any person or family in need – unlike the community food shelf that is held weekly in our church that is bound by restrictions (like income, address, etc.).
I help unload the truck and arrange the food on tables, help carry things or whatever needs to be done. The people are thankful, and the volunteers get a sense of energy from helping. We have about 20 people who help serve with this cause which has helped over 300 individuals/families in a month. We provide produce, bread products, milk, cereal and other staples.
The government cannot do everything for us, so, for our quality of life and others, we all could do more. I also do volunteer work for the city park system by giving tours at the first house built in Minneapolis and telling about the history of the house and the city/state. Speaking of connections of importance, my great grandmother was a resident in the home, so that was my tie to the house.
As a veteran of the Navy, the VA Hospital has successfully treated me for a severe stroke and an infection in my leg. Previous to this, I volunteered in the hospital as a patient escort and, now, help out in other ways.
I’m also a volunteer with the county for pollution studies/assistance. I hope that telling about my personal efforts to maybe inspire and give some of you ideas for volunteerism in your area. The possibilities are endless, as are the rewards: the networking opportunities are incredible! You might even find some way to help with a concern of your own!
St. Paul, MN