Volunteerism: the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one’s community.*
When looking for the answers as to why volunteers, Janis and Mandy, stepped up to Feed the Fight Kalamazoo, this definition of “volunteerism” is everything they were looking for.
Volunteer Janis had some of the first “boots on the ground” when Feed the Fight Kalamazoo went into action in the spring, at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s in her nature. It’s who she is. But…this time was so very different. She found the normal ways in which she’s given back to the Kalamazoo community closed off…for now. Instead, she found another cause and another way to appreciate the things she cares about. As a person who has always appreciated the medical community, her new revelation was; they were just like firefighters. They truly were the first responders so needed in this moment. When everyone else was masking up and staying indoors, they were the ones rushing into harm’s way.
New volunteer, Mandy, had time and experience to watch the first wave happen. When the second wave came around and FTFK was again needed, she had thought a lot about our front-line workers risking their lives every day to keep our community healthy and well. Attractive to Mandy was the added bonus that support through FTFK is twofold; feeding front line workers AND supporting our community restaurants. She followed the trail after reading an article, (https://wmich.edu/news/2020/11/62261 ) and found the pathway clear to begin her volunteer work for the organization.
As Feed the Fight Kalamazoo found a second wave of demand appearing, volunteers like Janis and Mandy have been crucial to the execution and success of all they do. Volunteerism comes from the heart. Touching Janis’ heart has been the depth of appreciation from so many people serving and being served. When many have lived within their own bubble and kept doing what is expected of them, being the unexpected face of kindness and generosity is met with true appreciation and smiling eyes behind the mask.
Mandy is moved by knowing Kalamazoo is truly a giving community. After going through quarantine, she truly yearned for community involvement. Her heart is lifted by knowing we can pull together to support one another through hard times. And, so…her important volunteerism began with FTFK.
As Janis says, “Everyone can always find a way to help. Whether masking up or donating to a non-profit, the ability to help is there”. And, as Mandy has found, “…there is still a need for donations and volunteers. We are still fighting…and we can support one another”.
Volunteerism…bringing out the best in all we have to give.