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The Gift of Giving: Can You Make a Difference?

Some things never change? Think again…

Hey, what are your summer plans? Working? Going to the Beach? Hanging out with friends? Shopping? Starting your own business? There are always lots of options in the summer, but I would like to encourage you to try something a little different — volunteer work!

Recently, I had the opportunity to go with eight teens to a Youth Conference in Denver, Colorado. For three days, we did service or volunteer work — things like making 850 sandwiches, then serving them and cleaning up after. We served dinner in a men’s shelter and helped out in a food bank. Did you know that these places never have enough helpers? There are always hungry people to feed, especially in the city. You know what happened to all of us? We realized just how fortunate we are to have plenty of food, clothes and blankets and bedding, and a safe home.

Think about how much money you make if you have a part-time job, making minimum wage and no benefits to pay for health care or dental appointments. Your parents buy your food, and probably clothes — maybe they even give you an allowance or a clothing budget. Imagine if you had to use all the money you made to pay for a place to live and food to eat. How long do you think your money would last? Right, it wouldn’t last more than a few days! That’s what happens to some of the people who live in shelters. They don’t make enough money at their job to live on. So they are forced to rely on social agencies to help out.

If you and your friends volunteered once a month (or why not get crazy — volunteer once a week!) at the food bank or a women’s shelter and served food or helped do dishes, you could make a big difference in your community. Maybe you even lived in one of those shelters for a while, or know someone who has. Everyone needs help once in a while.

Think about how you can help people that are less fortunate than you! Then get out there and volunteer. You’ll be glad you did.