After almost fourteen years at the same volunteer gig, I found myself looking for something new to do with what little free time I have.
I won’t go into all the ugly details on why I left. Short version: another volunteer with a drinking problem plus anger issues made it difficult and dangerous to be in the same place at the same time. I figured it was easier to leave than to call my husband from either the emergency room or the jail, depending on whether I failed to duck a flying fist or threw the first (and likely last) punch.
It’s hard to walk away from what you’ve loved and done for a long time, even if you’re not getting paid. My dad was a volunteer firefighter for years, and always said it was the only job he ever really loved. Never made a dime at it, and it took a lot of his time, but he never regretted any of that. As a volunteer for many years, I understand how he felt.
I found a new place to spend time and do a little good, however. A homeless shelter recently opened, and they needed help sorting donations and getting them ready for clients to use, both at the shelter and after they leave, when they have steady work, are sober and healthy and ready to set up their own households. My first day was yesterday, and in five hours, I don’t think I made much headway, thanks to the enormous amount of stuff in the donation area. It’s overwhelming that so many people care, and it’s a good thing that I am one of those chaos-into-order types. I love a good mess. Nothing gets me wide-eyed and buzzed more than madness that needs a method.
I know I found a good place, because I was genuinely disappointed that the donations room was closed today. I wanted to return and keep working, even though any hope at bending and squatting required a couple of doses of OTC pain meds.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Day is Monday, Jan. 21. Points of Light and the Corporation for National and Community Service are urging those of you who can to spend that day in some form of community service. You can learn more about how you can help at http://www.pointsoflight.org/mlk.
- Idaho ranks second for volunteerism in national survey (oregonlive.com)
- Join The White House In Celebrating The National Day Of Service (theobamacrat.com)
- Volunteers make a huge difference (omaha.com)
- Volunteer Work [They say time is money!] (casualnatural.wordpress.com)
- A New Year of Volunteering (volunteermaryland.wordpress.com)
- Operation Breakthrough volunteers (kansascity.com)