Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.
We celebrate our volunteers.
As the world’s largest social service organization, serving in 132 countries, The Salvation Army could not have served our communities without the help of our most treasured asset – the volunteers who have worked alongside us for over 150 years.
To you, we say, ‘Thank you.’
National Volunteer Week, April 17-23, 2022
By: Q’ Essence Walker
Volunteer for The Salvation Army
“Volunteerism is weaved into my earliest childhood memories.”
Volunteering as a family has been a crucial value held by my mother. She understood that to ‘do for others,’ as she was quick to remind us, would teach us the value of gratefulness, empathy, compassion, and sacrifice….and ultimately help us grow into people of character. As the oldest of three girls, I laughingly recall being ‘volun-TOLD’ for our church’s children’s choir or the Easter program, and how mom would ‘let me’ help with her latest volunteer project.
“We are going to stay a little while longer,” she would tell us girls when we would ask to leave early. Although I couldn’t fully comprehend the significance as a child, I could feel the brevity and importance of her words. As I grew older- and my heart grew in understanding- it would be my turn to repeat that phrase to my sisters.
As a millennial, it’s easy to get buried under the burdens of making a career and the stress and worry from growing up in this non-stop culture of over-information. It’s often difficult to stop and get quiet with God. On the occasion we do, we can sense an emptiness that we sometimes misunderstand and attempt to fill with surface, short-lived pleasures.
Blessings received from giving back to others
That’s where the mystery of the blessings received from giving back to others becomes a powerful force of good in a world desperate for hope and healing. You can’t understand it; it’s just a God-thing.
Volunteering allows me to step away from self-thought and fantom-worries and be fully present and engaged in serving someone else. It has given me the gift of perspective and understanding that I have no idea what struggles they have overcome in this life and what challenges they currently face. In fact, I don’t know if they have eaten today or even this week.
Volunteering for The Salvation Army has helped me tremendously in mining for my purpose as a young adult. For example, with The Salvation Army I’ve served people during the worst season in their lives- from homelessness and hunger to surviving a catastrophic and life-changing disaster. Offering hope to someone on their darkest day is a humbling, life-changing privilege.
Before volunteering for The Salvation Army, I never remember asking a homeless person about their life’s journey. Since then, I’ve heard tales from veterans who had difficulty reintegrating into society, or from exhausted single mothers who couldn’t pay their bills and lost their homes. It can be easy to misinterpret ourselves as better because of our financial circumstances and not recognize we are one struggle away from being in that same desperate place. I believe that you never know where you may end up tomorrow, so do for someone while you are able today.
I encourage other young people- this is your community, these are your people, and the ones you are called to love and serve.
And The Salvation Army serves so many diverse needs and offers many different volunteer activities. There are many opportunities, whether working with computers, serving and delivering meals, tutoring kiddos after-school or being a shoulder for someone struggling to find hope.
I’ve learned not to measure a gift given through the earthly lens of perceived value. No matter how small we may see our contribution, we cannot know the impact it can make on someone’s life. Nor is it ours to judge, but rather give what we can, and give the results to God.
We do this for them because Christ would do this for us.”
For information about volunteering at your local Salvation Army, click here.