I had the distinct privilege of serving at a resource center for women. I signed up as a volunteer not knowing what it would entail. I went in with no expectations, just a happy, humble heart to serve. I took the opportunity to walk, instead of driving as it was not far from my job. I arrived and was greeted by a very warm smile from the receptionist. She asked who was I there to see and I informed her that I was a volunteer. She asked if I had ever volunteered there before and I responded “No”. She called Mr. Devin, who ran the kitchen, as well as prepared the meals for the clients. She then informed me of the directions to arrive at the kitchen.

I walked up three steps and made a left turn. I noticed a medium size dining area and a full size commercial kitchen. I walked in and Mr. Devin introduced himself and I did the same. He told me that he would show me how to sign in to the computer, but another group of volunteers showed up, so he did it all at one time. We were informed we needed to place a cap on our heads as well as getting an apron to wear. We were all signed in and the delegation began. Some were told to set the tables while others assisted in preparing the food. The menu for lunch that day was baked beans and sausage. Once our main task were completed, he asked us to fold napkins to fill three baskets. This was actually a time for all to get to know each other. We conversed about multiple things, dealing with our home life and volunteering.

The time was five minutes to twelve and the ladies began pouring in. Gospel music began to play and I began to sing and quietly worship God. This particular moment almost brought me to tears, because at any given day, it could be me. My heart literally fell into my stomach, because I love people. I never want to see anyone hurting, homeless or hungry. We began distributing the food with a warm hello and great big smiles. The ladies were so pleasant and responded in thanksgiving. Yes, they were there to be fed, but they also needed some TLC. You never know the impact you can have by smiling or just greeting someone. We continued to serve and made the ladies feel warm and welcomed. While we were warm and fuzzy, we took notice of staff members that were not.

We encountered the ladies being yelled at for having so many bags, instead of gently asking them to move them, we witnessed the cooks speaking negatively about a client that did not wish to partake of the food. There were conversations had by staff members to the women that were not pleasant or loving. My cohorts and I were taken aback by these actions. Although we are not in this environment daily, we all agreed that everyone should display a servants heart and a loving attitude. When you are already in a downtrodden situation, you do not need another person speaking to you in a degrading and belittling manner. No matter what your situation is, always show kindness and be gentle, as you never know what someone is dealing with. Does your words hurt more or are they comforting?

We never know who we may be entertaining. Never get above yourself that you put others beneath you. In a matter of seconds it could be you who needs some form of assistance. We were all placed here to serve in some capacity. My spirit of serving was evident by many of the ladies, but more so, by one who took the time to come over and speak with me. She told me if she had a business, she would hire me. She shared some of her ups and downs and even some of her more personal matters, that had not been disclosed with anyone but her daughter. I graciously listened and responded when I thought it was necessary. Ms. Tina is what we shall call her, asked when would I be returning so she could come when I was there. I informed her that I did not know for sure as I was volunteering for the day. I kindly let her know that she matters and should continue to be her kind, loving self. I returned back to my duties and the it was soon time to return to work.

On the way back the discussion was what could we do to make things better or what could we change. Many ideas were shared, but needless to say, we did a small portion that day just by serving.  Volunteering, purchasing groceries, reading to a class, cooking a meal or two, cutting the grass of an elderly person, so on and so forth. There are many ways to serve and you must seek out your opportunity to do so. What breaks your heart? What are you passionate about? What can you change immediately? You can be a change agent. So in closing, I ask, who, how and when are you willing to serve?

Peace and Blessings

Always Retta
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