That’s the best advice I can give you if you’re thinking about doing a Volunteer Odyssey week.
Actually, that’s the best advice I can give you about life, too.
It shouldn’t be hard, should it? There are people who need help. We have the ability to give it to them. It should be the easiest thing to do, but somehow, we don’t do it. We sit at home, warm and dry and fed, with kids who have books to read and backyards to play in, and worry about ourselves.
Sister Maureen from the Dorothy Day House doesn’t do that. Neither does Al from Fig Tree Food Pantry or Ms. Tonie at Room in the Inn. They jump in, when it’s cold, when it’s raining, when they are tired, when there’s too much to do and not enough resources, which is of course, always. There are good people all over Memphis who are working, day in and day out, to help those who need food, who have no home, who just need a place to learn.
It’s worth remembering in light of last week’s heartbreaking Pre-K vote. Even when Memphis went to the polls to refuse to pay a tiny amount of money to educate children who need it, Ms. Angela and Ms. Patience went to work. They went to Porter Leath’s Early Head Start the next day, and they sang songs about numbers, and played games with letters, and read books to Isaac and Paris and the other children.
The Volunteer Odyssey week is eye opening for those who have not experienced the vast need in Memphis, and for those who have, like myself, it serves as a reminder. That it is my responsibility to pay attention to those in need, and to help where I am able. I’m sending needed supplies to Room in the Inn and to Fig Tree Food Pantry, and I’m hoping they will let me don the Snow Queen robe at one of my nights on duty at Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard at the Botanic Gardens. All of these places, and the numerous others that are making a difference in our city, need your help too.
So jump in.