Volunteer Serves to Fill a Void
Susan Sullivan started volunteering at The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham in October of 2016 after the passing of her best friend. She had a void in her life and volunteering at The Salvation Army helped her fill that sudden void.
Sullivan chose to serve at The Salvation Army because of the many years of service in Birmingham and the nation. “They are always there to help people pick up the pieces and get their lives back together. Whether it’s food, clothing, assistance, or during catastrophes – The Salvation Army is always there. They do so much with so little,” said Sullivan. “After seeing the opportunities online and reading feedback from others and seeing the work of The Salvation Army, not just locally but the work they do nationwide, it made me think that this was the place I wanted to be,” said Sullivan. “My heart is with the homeless and those less fortunate.”
Sullivan volunteers every Friday in The Salvation Army Kitchen helping to prepare and serve meals to the homeless and the hungry. She has a group of six friends and she usually brings one or two friends along to help her serve. If they are busy or can’t come with her, she just comes on by herself. She’s an asset to the kitchen team and even helps train new volunteers that serve alongside her on those Fridays in the kitchen. “It’s been such a positive experience and as I see new volunteers come in, I enjoy being able to help train them and show them around.” In addition to serving in our kitchen, she has volunteered in our food pantry making food bags and with our Angel Tree Program during the Christmas season.
Sullivan is retired from a career as a Physician Practice Manager for 32 years. In this role, she worked in a position of management and helped people her whole career. For her, volunteering is an extension of her career of helping people, simply in a different way. “The first time I volunteered at The Salvation Army I loved it. I left here feeling like I had accomplished something, that I had given back and I was emotional. You just don’t realize how well you have things until you come here and see others who do not,” said Sullivan.
To say that Sullivan has a megawatt smile is an understatement. Her demeanor is warm, kind, personable and encouraging all at the same time. She makes a point to speak to everyone that comes through the food line and a simple greeting from her would brighten anyone’s day. In fact, she shared a story of a gentleman that approached her after lunch was over one day.
“He told me God will reward and bless me for being here, he said I will be rewarded in Heaven for being here for these people. For speaking so kindly and for sharing a smile with the people coming through the food line,” said Sullivan.
We are grateful that volunteering at The Salvation Army has helped fill a void in Sullivan’s life, but we know that she has filled a void in the lives of so many others.