Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feeling Needed

UntitledFor many years I have spent a portion of Thanksgiving Day delivering meals for a fantastic organization, God's Love We Deliver. I donate some money to different charities every year, I volunteer with PUPS a few times annually, I'll help a friend move but, if we're really being honest, that's the only day that I set aside for actively helping people who need it. It's not much but it's more than nothing and I do keep a file in my brain containing one question, "Volunteer more?"

Last year the Thanksgiving sign up for GLWD volunteers went digital. It was a little confusing and we were all learning and by the time I got the help I needed I was told there were no spots available. I was so sad about my tradition that I cried and I sent a sad email and they found a place for me and Queen Bee. It was a very different place from where I'd been before but I got to deliver a couple of meals and we had fun together.

This year, I responded immediately to the call for volunteers and noticed that my walking delivery person job wasn't listed. There was a quick reply letting me know that I could get on a waiting list but there were none of these jobs available. They were filled, I assume, with regular year-round volunteers. I got sad again but no tears. My first thought was, "I can't volunteer!" Then I leveled out and checked the form and realized that I could volunteer doing something a little different, I could get on the waiting list, or I could, indeed, not volunteer for this organization on this day. Those are three perfectly valid and pleasant options. In the interest of not having the decision made for me by my inaction I put in to work in a different job at a new-to-me location in Brooklyn and was swiftly confirmed so at 8:45am on Thanksgiving I'll be helping to pack meals and send out walking volunteers. Given the direction this is going, though, I suspect this will be my last year helping out this particular charity.

Judges I'm sad, of course, but I'm only sad for me. I'm happy for GLWD because they're doing so well they don't need me. That's marvelous! This overflowing cup of volunteers is symbolic of the ongoing success of the group. They were originally founded to provide reliable nutrition to patients with HIV and AIDS. When they found themselves with the resources to consistently provide for that demographic they expanded to help people with other issues that kept them confined to the home. Now they're expanding again to refine the way they serve people and uncover ways to serve more of them. If everyone could manage to be as successful as GLWD I'd be thrilled and our whole society would be a lot better off.

Of course finding out that I'm not needed gives rise to an important question, a question I should perhaps have asked a long while ago, or at least been more firm about demanding an answer from myself. Where am I needed? Animal shelters? Schools? Rock Camp? None of those are going to be as simple as showing up for a couple of hours on a national holiday. Not all good work is easy work, I know that.  God's Love has trained me well with plenty of positive reinforcement and delightful memories. Now they're ready to send me out into the big wide world so I can put my training to use elsewhere. I will be forever grateful.

Suggestions welcomed.


  1. Love GLWD. Good friend of mine works there.

  2. I do, too. They are amazing and wonderful.

  3. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Kizzy, our only volunteer work is with Robotics and Pups. But a friend helps mentoring girls writing. NYC kids - especially aspiring first generation college hopefuls - need lots of help with the college admissions process. http://www.girlswritenow.org/gwn/node/1175 Something like this would be a godsend to a lot of kids. It's a huge process, and many students have no idea how to get it moving. You'd probably be great at this - Catherine

  4. I've actually heard a lot of intensely great things about Girls Write. Thanks for the link, I'll look into it. I'd like to do that.

  5. I think I'd like to do that, too.

  6. Did you ask the original place for suggestion as to where help might be needed? If they don't need you may be they know some where who might? And hell, if its food and kitchens and people... there is always need and no such thing as too much help. I might just show up.