Posted by: tabliope | May 13, 2008

Life QotW: Taking Time to Volunteer

What volunteer activities do you help out with in your community?
Submitted by Emu with a Clue.

I make sure people are fed by working for an organisation in our town that collects food from supermarkets, bakeries and school kitchens and then distributes it to people who are in need.  It's a great big nationwide organisation which survives through supermarkets being prepared to donate food that is going out of date rather than throwing it away.  We also survive through the generosity of local garages providing vehicles at cost and doing all our servicing for free.  There are only 2 paid members of staff – the rest of us are unpaid.

Many of our customers are refugees or they're people who have moved out of the eastern countries since the break up of the Soviet Union.  There is a lot of bureaucracy surrounding what we do but I try and cut through it as much as possible and will never refuse someone food even if they haven't got the correct piece of paper.  There are a couple of Russian guys who call me Lady Madonna – from the Beatles song rather than in homage to Madge – and each week they serenade me which is one of the things that makes sorting through slimy lettuce worthwhile.  Last week, an old man kissed my hand because I gave him a bar of chocolate.  

If I'm honest, I probably get at least as much from working for this organisation as I give.  It's not selfless.

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Responses

  1. [this is good] That reminds me of the episode of Friends where Phoebe says there’s no such thing as a selfless act… however, the people in receipt of your kindness probably don’t see it that way – yes, you get a good feel from it, but you are giving up your time and energy to help others. That’s commendable on every scale!

  2. I almost feel guilty because of the pleasure I get from volunteering but I know it’s what keeps me coming back. I never expected to enjoy it so much – the feeling of making a difference for people through really simple acts. 
    And afterwards, the other people on my shift are excellent at (a) drinking and (b) gossiping.


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