We at Reach often refer to the “individuals we support.” What has not gone unnoticed, though, is the ripple effect of some of these same individuals who are also supporting other individuals by volunteering in the community. Misha helps with meals at the food shelf Open Arms each Wednesday, Jessie assists with games and birthday parties at The Birches at Trillium Woods senior center, Dan delivers Meals on Wheels, and Jill sorts clothes and shelves food at Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners. And there are likely others.
When asked about her volunteer experience, Jessie stated, “I am having lots of fun and I love the people that work and live there.” Misha agrees. In action at Open Arms one day, he said, “I’m always excited to come here because I have so many friends here.” He also acknowledges that his own meal planning and preparation skills have improved because of what he has learned…not to mention the added bonus of sometimes getting to take home leftovers.
This is not Misha’s first rodeo when it comes to volunteering. Feed My Starving Children, Books for Africa, ICA Food Shelf, and Second Harvest Heartland have all benefitted from his giving nature. He is particularly grateful at how accommodating and supportive Reach employees are with volunteer opportunities, stating that his staff member, Jake, gives him rides. Plus, Misha adds, “It helps so much to connect with others in the broader community,” noting that he engages in a truly inclusive experience when volunteering.
As he further explains, “eventually all of us will have a need” [for others’ help]. Yet, it’s fair to be optimistic that there will always be those willing to lend a hand.