Volunteer from Home on Thanksgiving

At Home Volunteer Project A simple project + interviews with our homeless neighbors. Thanksgiving is one of the most popular days of the year to volunteer and many volunteer opportunities for Thanksgiving Day fill up far in advance. So what’s a well-meaning Memphian to do? You can still make a difference! Our local outreach agencies need survival kits (also known as gift bags or blessing bags) for the people they serve throughout the year. A great way to do that is to meet some people who have experienced homelessness. We’re including their stories here, in their own words so you can hear about the lives. Even though you can’t meet them directly, we hope you find a connection. You can collect the materials and assemble these bags at your home while watching videos about those who have experienced homelessness in Memphis. … Continue reading

Epilogue: Meredith DeLeeuw

Life is a journey, not a destination.  This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson perfectly sums up my last 8 days.  What started out as a hopeful destination towards a career, led to one of the greatest journeys of my life.  Never did I think I would learn so much, have so much fun, or create a lasting impact in 8 days.  Every day I was surrounded by passionate people who inspired me in so many ways.  I loved nothing more than learning about each and every one of their journeys.  For some, a life of service was a straight path, and for others a long winding road.  I would like to think my path towards volunteering and non-profits was always straight, but yet slightly blinded.  I always knew that I loved helping people, but I was not sure how I … Continue reading

Day 8: Cultivate Inspiration at Shelby Farms

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 8 she volunteered with Shelby Farms. Check out her story below!   The last day of my volunteer odyssey was bitter sweet.  How was I already on my last day?  The last 8 days had gone by way too fast and I wasn’t ready for it to end.  Luckily, I got to mend my spirits at one of my favorite spots in Memphis, Shelby Farms.  Most people in Memphis know about Shelby Farms, but forthose of you that are not from here or have recently moved here, Shelby Farms is one of the largest urban parks in the United States.  The park contains more … Continue reading

Day 7: Beers for Volunteers

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 7 she volunteered with us for 901 Day’s Beers for Volunteers. Check out her story below! 901 Day!  What’s 901 day?  September 1st, 9/01, get it?  It’s only the best day of the year in Memphis!  I love a city that knows how to celebrate a random day that matches their area code.  Especially a city that comes together on that day to welcome newcomers.  Enter Exposure Memphis.  Exposure Memphis is a free event celebrating all things Memphis, hosted by the New Memphis Institute.  Over 150 local businesses and organizations set up booths to share who they are and what they do to … Continue reading

Day 6: Miracles in Motion

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 6 she volunteered with Southern Reins. Check out her story below!   Day six of my volunteer odyssey brought me to a little slice of heaven in northern Mississippi.  Horses, wide open blue sky, green pastures, and miracles.  What more could a person ask for?  Founded in 2015, Southern Reins is an equine therapy center serving individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.  Southern Reins offers therapeutic riding, horsemanship lessons, hippotherapy, and equine assisted psychotherapy.  They serve children and adults from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  All sessions are conducted by certified therapists, PATH certified riding instructors, or mental health professionals.  The also just … Continue reading

Day 5: End Hunger, One Fig at a Time

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 5 she volunteered with Catholic Charities at their Fig Tree Food Pantry. Check out her story below! I spent my fifth day of volunteering with the wonderful people at Fig Tree Food Pantry.  Fig Tree is one of the many charitable organizations run by the Catholic Charities of West Tennessee.  In addition to the food pantry, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee offer clothing, a mobile food pantry, rapid housing, immigration, veteran, and other programs.  They serve all people regardless of religious beliefs, socio-economic, or ethnic background.  It is not just for the Catholic community, it is from the Catholic community.  Their mission is to … Continue reading

Day 4: Have You Eaten This Morning?

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 4 she volunteered with Urban Bicycle Food Ministry. Check out her story below!   To say I was incredibly excited, yet nervous, about my opportunity to volunteer with the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry would be an understatement.  Will I be overcome with emotions?  Would it be a tough ride?  How will people react to me handing out burritos?  The more I talked with Lyle Udell, the head of UBFM, the more excited I got.  Urban Bicycle Food Ministry is an amazing non-profit started in 2012 by a student at Memphis Theological Seminary, Tommy Clark.  He had a goal of delivering food to the … Continue reading

Day 3: Big Bugs

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 3 she volunteered with Memphis Botanic Garden. Check out her story below!   On my third day of my volunteer journey, I found myself surrounded by nature at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  Botanic gardens and arboretums are very near and dear to my heart!  My grandfather has a tree planted in his name at the Clinton, Iowa Arboretum.  Every Christmas memory I have as a kid involved going to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens to drive through the Galaxy of Lights.  My husband even proposed at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.  Needless to say, I was very excited for the opportunity to give … Continue reading

Day 2: One Hour, One Book, Huge Difference

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 2 she volunteered with Read to Me at St. Jude. Check out her story below!   If you had asked me 6 months ago where St. Jude Hospital was located, I would have hem hawed and said multiple locations such as Washington D.C. or New York.  I was absolutely floored when I realized that the St. Jude Hospital that I saw on my first drive under the M bridge, was THE St. Jude.  Wow!  I would never have guessed it was only one hospital and that hospital was here in Memphis.  When I was picking my locations for my volunteer journey, I knew … Continue reading

Day 1: Sustainable Gardens for Sustainable Communities

Meredith DeLeeuw has created her own #VolunteerOdyssey in order to get to know Memphis better and give back to her new community. She’ll be volunteering with 8 nonprofits and sharing her experience through her blog.  On Day 1 she volunteered with Memphis Tilth. Check out her story below!   I started out my week of volunteering, outside on a perfect, sunny summer day. I was so excited to get my hands dirty and do some gardening for Memphis Tilth. Memphis Tilth is a relatively new non-profit organization that combined multiple local initiatives whose missions all included creating a sustainable and environmentally sound local food system. I volunteered for Grow Memphis, one of the initiatives now housed within Memphis Tilth. Their mission is to help communities build gardens and give residents access to locally grown food. So far, Grow Memphis has … Continue reading