The Weekly Word: Connecting Through Giving
Thank you to the Dedicated & Grateful Volunteer who wanted us to share their story
The Salvation Army proudly stands to meet the greatest needs presented to us within our communities, no matter who may be the one in need. But who is the one specifically meeting that need?
It could be any combination of caseworkers, Officers or staff members, but by far the largest group of those who are working to bring our mission to life are Volunteers. We hear countless stories from the “army behind the Army” because their work is constantly rewarded with indescribable moments of gratitude, love and connection; and all of it shared with those they serve. The lessons and impact they takeaway are important to hear because we may forget the special place that service to others holds in our lives. From the smallest gestures to life changing deeds: we all connect through acts of service and we may not even know it until we recognize the importance through others’ experiences.
“My Thanksgiving day starts early, around 7 am getting the community meal ready for the local people in need. I don’t always get to see the ministry side of The Salvation Army because my part is simply to make sure things are set up and ready to go but working on Thanksgiving is well worth it because I can see it all in action.
Other volunteers start to show up and are always so eager to help. The anticipation builds as well as a large crowd as we prepare to open the doors. This year’s group of volunteers work well together. The community flows in to eat a Thanksgiving meal and every things goes smoothly. However a new challenge becomes evident: We have plenty of food and start to wonder how to use it up.
The answer comes in a phone call from Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) asking for help with a train wreck. I think about my family and realize how important it is to help. The details are sketchy but I am told that 180 people are affected by the disaster. I now know how to use our Thanksgiving food. We start loading the canteen not knowing much about our trip. An hour and half trip gives us time to wonder more about the wreck and prepare for whatever awaits us at the scene. We finally arrive and see the train on the tracks and a tractor off to the side in a field. I start to think how we are going to get food to the train. The road where we are parked is about 300 yards across a plowed field to the train. The local Emergency Manager quickly told us the train has a dining car and we could serve the workers that way.
As we are setting up to serve food and coffee, watching the workers go back and forth from the train, we started to get some stories about the accident. The damage to the train disabled the brake system and it need to be repaired before it could move. Finally good news, the train is moving. The workers hear we have coffee and a Thanksgiving meal for them. The people are thankful we are there to serve them and can’t believe we’re serving turkey and all the fixings. Then we heard about the dispatchers who had been working all day also. We proceeded to drive into town and share our Thanksgiving with them too. Everyone we met that afternoon was thankful for The Salvation Army. As we loaded up to head home we noticed the feeling of gratitude in ourselves as well. We were grateful for the law enforcement, fire dept., emergency staff, railroad staff, and all the people that helped that day just as much as they were grateful for our meal. I learned a new lesson of “Thanksgiving” and the connection people share when we serve each other in times of need.”
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Help us provoke time for thought each week with all who share in The Salvation Army's mission.