Like most everyone I know, I've donated items, helped with food drives, and contributed monetarily to worthwhile causes. I've very proudly espoused my daughters' service endeavors too, like Locks of Love ponytail donations and Lake Houston cleanup efforts. But this most recent event gave me a very meaningful one-on-one experience of handing the “gift” directly to the recipient.
Our Brownie Girl Scout troop recently participated in a program called “Cookies and Goodnight” at the Star of Hope in Houston. The Star of Hope is a Christ-centered mission dedicated to the homeless. They offer a comprehensive approach to addressing both immediate (food/shelter) and long-term (education/employment) issues of the homeless. “Cookies and Goodnight” is a program whereby volunteers provide an evening snack for the residents living at their Transitional Living Center.
Because we volunteered and served on a Saturday, there were many residents absent on weekend passes. Others were attending classes, so we didn’t have the expected 250 or so residents show up for the evening snack. What we did have though was a tremendously grateful and appreciative group of mostly mothers and children.
The “thanks” we heard were sincere and plentiful. These people so appreciated our cookies and milk, some of them coming up and asking for a second serving. Something so simple meant so much to them, and it made me mindful of my own abundance and blessings.
As we gather together with family and friends across the country this Thursday to celebrate and give thanks, let us not forget those less fortunate. I’m glad to have participated in this program, particularly that my kids were able to share the experience, and I look forward to my next service opportunity. Happy Thanksgiving! What are some of your most meaningful volunteer experiences?