By Robin Wagner
Director of Volunteer Services, City Gospel Mission
During this national Volunteer Appreciation Week, we give our sincere thanks for each of you – over 2,500 strong – who give your time and effort to build into the lives of so many people who need uplifted. You are the bedrock of our organization, and the catalysts for the life-change and spiritual growth that happens every day at City Gospel Mission. You are God’s hands and heart in action.
Today’s heroes: Diner volunteers
There are over 30 volunteer groups who provide and serve dinner each night and breakfast each weekend to the guests at our homeless shelter. The groups represent small churches, large churches, businesses, families and friends, and even a neighborhood group – totaling over 500 volunteers.
Many groups volunteer regularly – usually monthly – to provide, prepare and serve a meal at our Diner. But just as important, the volunteers build relationships and community with our guests in a Godly spirit. All of which help our guests move from despair to hope, and from the shelter to jobs, housing, and independent living.
When the Covid-19 threat began, we were concerned about how we would continue to provide meals and care for our guests, knowing that volunteers would need to focus on their families as well as other matters while the world changed by the day. We are extremely humbled by how volunteers have continued to step up and provide, as well as ask, “What else can I do to help?”
Like many organizations, we have had to make drastic changes to the way we operate. To ensure social distancing, we moved half of our guests – 37 – to a hotel, curtailing almost all normal volunteer activity. But our volunteers have not stopped pouring out their hearts. They continue to provide meals – whether dropping them off, having them catered, or preparing them in our kitchen for staff to serve. We are even able to shuttle half of the meals to the guests staying in the hotel.
Quite simply, we are in awe of your love and faithfulness.
Standing strong through this crisis
Hannah Anderson, Volunteer Coordinator for our homeless shelter, said she spoke to one of the volunteer leaders of a group, and thanked him for sticking it out with us and continuing to provide meals.
“Now is not the time for us to jump ship,” he told Hannah.
We are so grateful for volunteers like him who have boldly stood alongside us in the face of this crisis, even if it is at a distance, to ensure that every guest is fed and cared for.
Said Hannah, “For Volunteer Appreciation 2020, I want to say how much we appreciate our Homeless Services volunteers. We truly can’t thank each of you enough.”
To learn about the many ways you can volunteer at City Gospel Mission, click the volunteer button below.