Volunteering has its own rewards

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Over the years, I’ve written many stories honoring volunteers for all they do for various organizations – Suffolk Meals on Wheels, the Toys for Tots Program, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and the Suffolk Salvation Army, to name a few.

I have seen the pleasure that these devoted volunteers derive from just being there for someone. Observing these people, I made a big decision this past weekend – to work as a volunteer at First Baptist Church, Main Street on Thanksgiving Day.

When I told this plan to my son, Mark, he decided to join me. So promptly at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, he and I will report to First Baptist Church to help in any way we can.

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I have written stories about how Capt. David May, corps officer at the Salvation Army in Suffolk, and others have put off feeding their own families in order to come out and make someone else’s day a little brighter. Hundreds of people usually come out to partake of a Thanksgiving meal.

A job like that requires many volunteers to do all sorts of tasks, including serving, setting tables, and delivering meals to the homebound. Approximately 450 folks are expected to turn out this year.

After the meals have been served, people are needed to clean up the dining and kitchen areas to leave them as they were before the feast took place. To those who think that serving on different committees and groups in a church is the only way you can serve God; not true. By serving your fellow man in this way, you are serving God because you are giving of your time freely to someone else and this is what service and being a volunteer is all about.

But other people are not the only ones that will reap benefits from your service. You will also prosper as you experience such a wonderful time of fellowship, meet new people, feel good about yourself, live longer, be happy that you helped others, and improved your self-worth and self-image. It is also good to remember that with service comes blessings, and when you perform good deeds they will always come back to you. However, don’t do these things just for the purpose of receiving something in return.

When I attended the Meals on Wheels Recognition Program recently a prayer called &uot;A Volunteer’s Prayer&uot; stood in my mind to bring me to my recent decision to volunteer. The verses that touched me deeply read as follows:

&uot;I am only one person,. Lord, but you and I know one person can and will make a difference in another’s life.

If I can do that for someone today, when my head lies upon my pillow tonight, and my eyes close, I will be at peace.&uot;

No service rendered or job performed at First Baptist Church on Thanksgiving Day is too big or too small to be a volunteer. For more information on being one call the Salvation Army at 539-5201.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist for the News-Herald. She can be contacted at 934-9615 or via e-mail: evelyn.wall@suffolknewsherald.com