Saturday, November 3, 2012

Taking care of our own by volunteering

When I worked for the state of Texas, I had goals and deadlines I had to meet. Oh, yes, and impossibly high caseloads, and more paperwork every month. Always more paperwwork, less time with the people.

So when I could retire, I did.

Now I have the chance to help again, in a volunteer situation.

It isn't for everyone. A lot of it is process. You feed and sustain, you encourage. Sometimes someone is ready to move right along and get back on their feet. Last week I heard a man tell a volunteer he is getting an apartment again for the first time in 11 years. He's been homeless all that time. Now he's climbing out. College students at the end of their grant money for the semester come in for a nourishing meal to make their fes remaining dollars for the semester. Some never climb out. The goal is sustaining, and seeing where that can go.

I am starting volunteering at a big area soup kitchen at a local church. They coordinate with other churches, social services, area businesses. I think this kind of benevolence keeps us human. And yes, there are grants available. Some may be federal, some are foundations.

I hope I can continue for a long while. Payment is a wonderful meal. I can't afford to eat out much, so this is good.

The rest of the payment is the people I meet, including other volunteers, and the sense of doing something for the community that really counts.

I care about the pets, too. But abandoned animals find homes more often than abandoned humans. The energy is good here. Friendly, caring. Client for client. clients and staff. There's a sense of well-being, and respect. I really like that.

I am excited about this.

More to come.

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