On a recent Sunday at church, I was appealing to the congregation to support our food pantry, the Holy Trinity Center.
While practicing my talk, I concluded I didn’t want just to read the script that was provided. You see, I have had some experience with the folks who are served by the Holy Trinity Center, and I know an effective plea comes with a story.
I went back through my notes on some people I had visited while volunteering with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) a couple of years ago. Many of these individuals and families are also clients of the food pantry.
As SVDP volunteers, we go in pairs and visit people in their homes to learn more about their situations. I recalled Sarah, a 34-year-old single mom with four children. She had a good job and was making ends meet. But her brother died suddenly, and she took on the cost of his funeral, which put her in financial hardship.
There was a sweet young family: Lisa, Jacob, and baby Jay. They moved here from Tyler for baby Jay to be treated at Children’s Medical Center for a very serious condition. They needed help with all the basics to set up a suitable home here, so the baby could get the care he needed.
And lastly, I included a mention of Ray, an 84-year-old veteran on a fixed income. He chose to help support his grandchildren, leaving him with not enough for himself.
These real stories reminded me of what charity means to me. Sure I can write a check for an organization that does good work, and there are many, like the organizations receiving vital support from Crystal Charity Ball.
During the holiday season there will be plenty of opportunities to give, and yes, please open your checkbooks, but I encourage you also to make time to volunteer.
When you get up close and personal and get to know someone, you can’t help but be moved. And you are rewarded with a rich experience that you will not soon forget.