National Volunteer Week may be past, but everyday is a day to recognize volunteers. Every day presents an opportunity to thank and appreciate those who serve day in and day out on behalf of non-profit, civic and religious organizations.
Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities of Venice Diocese has been offering assistance to newly arrived immigrants, farmworkers, and people in need in Immokalee for almost 40 years. The work would not be possible without the help of generous men and women who volunteer weekly, monthly, or seasonally. Volunteers come from all over southwest Florida, including Immokalee: Collier, Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties. They come as individuals, club members, church groups. They work in the food pantry and the soup kitchen. They cook, serve, clean-up, pack bags, deliver food in GSS’s mobile van, and donate food, clothing and money to accomplish the mission of GSS.
When asked why one volunteers, the answers are many:
It is important to reach out and give back to others who have fallen on hard times; volunteering makes a positive difference. When one has been given much it is important to reach out to those who have little.
There are spiritual reasons: Scripture says when one has 2 coats, give to someone in need of one , and “feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty.” When one helps their neighbor in need, they are serving God and doing God’s will. Reaching out to others makes one more aware of God’s presence in all people.
Volunteers help because it adds to their social life and sense of community. Volunteering is not just work. It builds relationships, creates community, and brings joy as volunteers share with other volunteers, staff, and clients..
It is important to encourage volunteering. Over 2,300 years ago, the philosopher Aristotle said “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” With so many less fortunate in our community and all over our country, those who can afford time, travel and funding for agencies like Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, volunteering is becoming increasingly important. There are no shortage of ways volunteering can make a difference. GSS is grateful for its amazing volunteers and is always willing to accept more people who want to share our mission with the needy people of Immokalee.