By Jennifer Williams, Contributor, US Daily Review.
Last week, I met with a terrific person named Denise from Salvation Army in Sandusky, Ohio. I am writing two classes in meal planning and basic cooking skills to present as part of their teaching curriculum as a requirement for the clients. It serves two purposes – my organization, New Day Family Resource Center, has no kitchen or space for teaching classes, and they need someone to teach these classes. It was God bringing us together. I felt an immediate affinity with Denise as a sister in Christ but also as a travel companion – not the big road trips I take but one of those “walk with me” people that we all need in life. Starting in September, they will have to cut back on their weekly feeding program and food pantry program due to dwindling contributions. We also have a food pantry and the need increases every week. If I can work out my schedule, I may help their volunteer chef prepare meals once a month on Mondays. I’m already at the Center on my other weekday off – Thursdays. This is what I do because I believe God has put me in these places to help.
I was impressed with the turnout for the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. The company has been around a long time (high school friends worked at the one in the Paddock Mall in Ocala, Florida) and Cathy has held these beliefs for a long time. It is not anything new. The media frenzy feeding this obsession with tolerance pushed people into action. While it was impressive and there was no violence, I dearly wish every single person who took the time to stand in line for their beliefs on traditional marriage would donate that same amount of time, EVERY week, to an organization that serves Christ. I’m not talking about your church although that’s a good place to start. However, many organizations, short on money and resources these days, in communities also short on money and resources, need your help. Volunteers are greatly needed in our organization for our core activity – Stay N Play. We cannot expand this existing program because we do not have enough volunteers to open our Center for a second day. This program involves pre-school children playing together and encourages parents or caregivers to play, too. Play is part of childhood (and as adults, we should also play with our kids). Without more dedicated volunteers, it won’t happen. The needs of many organizations in your communities are great; just ask them. I am a volunteer – the volunteer fundraiser and I handle the volunteers as well. We are being creative in our fundraising process as well as how and where we recruit volunteers. We do have many clients who volunteer but not enough. We have a clothing bank, food pantry, and Stay N Play. It takes a lot of effort to keep it running. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe in it. I work two jobs and I have a family. In addition, I still have time to give of myself to two organizations that need help. I just happen to be in a position to fill those needs. My family gives their time, too.
Charity is a concept that requires explaining. It is not simply writing a check each month although that is part of it. Anne Frank said that no one ever became poor by giving. We become rich when we give. While I have to deal with issues like no air conditioning and lack of space, I still leave the Center every Thursday feeling as if I’ve been blessed. I have the time and energy to devote here. I fulfill a critical need for them. Moreover, I enjoy what I do, even with all the issues that come with it. We give of our time and money because of love –that should be our primary motivation. Charity means selfless giving of one’s time, energy, and talents. It is the conviction of the heart that creates a charitable spirit. It does mean we smile all the time and show up whenever we are asked. You are allowed to say no. But that when we choose to be charitable, we do so in a way that is matched up with our talents and temperament. Then it flows from the heart and we are enriched by our experience. Do something when no one else is looking, when no one is there with a camera phone to record the endeavor, when there is no news coverage. My brothers and sisters in Christ, while I am glad to see you that took a stand for your beliefs, I’m asking you to consider taking another one.
Jennifer Williams is adjunct faculty in American History at Ashland (OH) University and the American Public University System. She is also the teaching chef for the New Day Family Resource Center in Sandusky, Ohio. Her interests are photography and curling. She lives with her family in Norwalk, Ohio.