Archive for the ‘volunteering’ Category

It’s true. Heroes don’t always wear tights. Or latex. Many don’t have superpowers. Most don’t even talk about how or why they are a hero. Many of the worlds heroes are quietly changing the world around them, one good deed at a time, and even their very best friend doesn’t even know it. Sort of like Ironman and his best pal, Rhodes.

Here in Seattle we have some very quiet heroes. And these heroes wear aprons. For most of them, you’d never know that once a month, they gather early on a Saturday afternoon to hit the streets to feed the homeless on their turf.

These apron wearing heroes are helping fight hunger on the streets of Seattle. Once a month, these random heroes gather at the Bread of Life Mission in downtown Seattle to prepare for that day’s Drive By Fooding. Packing hundreds of potatoes, gallons of steaming hot chili, bags of chili toppings, utensils, water and more into the Bread of Life Mission’s vans, they set out to find where the homeless are gathering on that particular day.

When those apron clad warriors climb out of those van’s they are a fast moving team, almost military in style with the speed and precision with which they move- quickly setting up tables and preparing for the lines of hungry homeless men and women that will form within minutes. For one to two hours they pile protein packed chili atop stick-to-your-ribs potatoes, slathering on cheese, and handing these nutritious meals to those that haven’t had one in days.

However, equally as important, these heroes are beacons of hope to the homeless men and woman who have become used to society seeing right through them. These heroes let the homeless know that someone does care.

The heroes are there to let them know that the Mission can help them change their lives. So far, the Mission has had several folks join their recovery program just because of the Drive By Fooding efforts. If helping a homeless person transition from street to recovery isn’t the act of a hero, I don’t know what is.

Want to be an apron wearing hero? The only qualification is that you care. Sign up to be a Drive By Fooding volunteer at the Bread Of Life Mission’s website.

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On Saturday November 14th my daughters ran an eight hour long food and clothing drive benefiting St. Vincent De Paul and Bread of Life Mission, respectively. Here is the video that I took that was posted to twitter, and retweeted by a number of other folks.

Thank you to @PCC @MyEdmondsNews for their retweets. Their retweets brought individuals to the drive – proof positive that the immediacy of Twitter really can make a difference to your local community.




This weekend, my daughters and I attended the 70th Anniversary banquet for Seattle’s Bread of Life Mission. What an incredible evening it was – filled with inspiring stories of how lives have been changed.  I was in awe of all the volunteers that came out to support the Mission’s 70th Anniversary, of the sponsors that attended, and of the folks who flew across the country to attend this banquet. 

 

I was humbled by the stories of change, recovery, and unconditional love and kindness.  This evening left me reflecting upon what I do in my own life that makes a difference.  I come from a loving family that taught me that in giving of ourselves is how we become open to receive the greatest of gifts.  I decided that I needed to better use my talents to support the causes that I believe in.  That’s why I am writing about volunteerism.  For those of you whose lives are just so busy that you don’t have the time to volunteer, let me tell you that there are other ways of making an immediate difference in the lives of those in need- with very little effort on your part.

You too, can help be a part of positive change. The mission has a new program offering “free shelter vouchers” that you can give to a homeless man in need of a nights meal, a warm bed, and a safe place to sleep. These vouchers are also traceable – which means that once you give it out, and it is used, you are contacted by the mission to let you know your actions made a difference. 

Here’s a photo of my first voucher which I had the opportunity to give out last week. I’ll post again when I get the word that it’s been used. I have a handful of these vouchers and I can hardly wait to run out of them just so I can get more. What an amazing way to make a direct and immediate impact on your local community.
If you feel like you want to be more involved,  the mission has a lot of ways we can all get involved.  They accept volunteers any time of year, not just the holidays. You can come alone, as a family, or as an organization.  They will always find something for you to do.  I cannot explain the feeling of joy and love you will encounter from this experience. But once you experience it yourself, you’ll want more too. 
Perhaps volunteering at a homeless shelter is not the right place for you. But there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities in your own backyard.  From working at animal shelters, to tutoring low income students, to cleaning up your parks, there are thousands of opportunities that match your talents, your beliefs, and your schedule.

A quick search on VolunteerMatch.org shows over 1,100 volunteering opportunities in the Seattle area alone. The perfect place for your talents is waiting for you. I speak from experience when I say that there is no feeling nearly as wonderful as being of service. And it’s wonderfully addictive.