NOTE: This was to be published for Two Writing Teacher’s Slice of Life weekly writing on Tuesday. Go check out some awesome teacher writers who have posted amazing things! 🙂
Last March, when school was shut down, my wife and I began volunteering at a food bank. This one was unique because it was started by a group who saw a need in our community, they gathered like minded people, and carved out their spot. They started working in 25 foot trailer, when boxes of food and frozen food purchased from the government or other food shelves. We worked in flurries (brr!!), wind, and rain (thunderstorms) as the food bank figured out their mission on best serving those in our district as best they could.
As we began the summer, the whole organization moved into the basement of a local church. With Covid, people were able to come up, do a little bit of “shopping” but not much else. The volunteers packed dry goods, frozen goods, and perishables, and we’d help get that food into their cars. Pretty basic stuff, but yet, a huge service to the community, especially during the time where so many people had lost their jobs and were struggling to make ends meet. We got the chance to work with many different people, most of whom were retired, and just made some pretty cool connections. It was a sad day when we finally said that it was our last day to be able to come in because, well, we weren’t retired! 🙂
Fast forward to last week, and the head of the food bank sends us a message asking us if we can help again. We, of course, talk it over (because far be it for us to just say yes without thinking about it). We showed up yesterday, did our time, and rekindled some great relationships with those who kept volunteering throughout the year.
The constant from those first days in the trailer to Tuesday: Gratitude. The people we work with were thankful we were there for a number of reason, one of which being many hands makes the load lighter! It was beastly hot and humid yesterday, so having us around helped out greatly! The person “in charge” (she’ll never say this) told my wife a number of times how happy she was to have us back. Yes, it’s an ego boost to feel needed, but it’s also an ego boost just to do the right thing.
We have served many different types of families: just who’d been laid off and just needed something to get by until their jobs came back, those who’d not been able to get a job in a while who needed the food, and those who were in between, losing their job before the pandemic and unable to get on their feet to get themselves back to where they needed to be. The common denominator with all these families: you guessed it, gratitude. Tuesday, we had a mom say how much this helped her family get by during these times. I had three “God bless you”s given to me (and I’m not a real religious guy), along with countless people simply saying thank you.
It’s amazing how just that act of being grateful for the service you provide to others or for others providing you a service can change a person’s day. Now, Tuesday was hot and sticky and I came home and showered because I sweat a lot!
Shhh! However, it was just refreshing to hear people saying thank you, seeing people giving freely of their time because it was the right thing to do. Each time we’d leave, I’d feel a bit selfish because it just felt good to give to others. Tuesday was no different. It just puts things into perspective on what you do have and how can you share that with the world.
Right now, we have time, so sharing it makes our live more rich.
And in turn, helps other as well.
A win-win if you ask me! 🙂
And on that note, where have you seen gratitude lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 🙂