I was sitting in my office the other day and thinking about volunteers and all of the good things that they do for us and our community. Then I began to muse about the question of what makes volunteers do it? What is it that they get in return for their labors? How can they continue in a world filled with avarice and hatred? What happens when people around them smirk at their naïve approach when they just seek to help others? In short, Why?
Then I remembered my Grandma, who during WW II was always taking meals and warm clothing to families in the air raid shelters of her Manchester, England suburb when they had been bombed out and lost all their possessions. I remembered all those hours at night sitting around the fire when she told me bed time stories, while her knitting needles went clickety-clack as she made sweaters, gloves and even soft underwear for the people in the neighborhood who had little or nothing left. She never ever counted the costs of her time or the materials or scarce food stuff; she just went about doing what she could to help relieve those in her neighborhood who were in distress.
I also remembered seeing an article that was recently re-published from an excerpt from “The Beacon,” a newsletter from Birthrite, in South Africa. It defined a volunteer thusly:
”A VOLUNTEER is a person who is a light to others, giving witness in a mixed-up age, doing well and willingly the tasks at hand-namely, being aware of another’s needs and doing something about it.
A VOLUNTEER is a person who remembers to do the thing to make other people happy, who takes the loneliness out of the alone by talking to them, who is concerned when others are unconcerned, who has the courage to be a prophet and to say the things that have to be said for the good of all.
A VOLUNTEER is a person whose charity is fidelity, who is faithful in an unfaithful world, grateful in an ungrateful world, giving when all about are grasping, listening when others need to tell about their fears and problems.”
These are the words and actions that help us to understand what is meant by the word, volunteer!
***This article was written by one of our contributing writers: Malcolm Noden