I definitely got more than I gave!
I am now settled in my new old house on Catherine Street in Saratoga and loving it. But I felt that I needed to do something meaningful with my time. So I started volunteering at the Franklin Community Center.* (http://www.franklincommunitycenter.org/) The more I learn about the place, the more I realize that this is the right fit for me.
There is a food pantry, a clothing store, a furniture matching program, Project Lift University for kids in the Saratoga schools and so much more. (They even had Halloween costumes that had been donated – I wish I knew that when my kids had outgrown theirs!) This agency provides much needed services to individuals and families. Often when we think of Saratoga, we think of affluence. But there are many people in need.
Today I worked in the food pantry. Staffed by volunteers, there is a concerted effort to provide people with healthful food and real choices. People whose food stamps allot them $4 a day for food. People who need baby formula and diapers and deodorant and shampoo and tampons and sanitary pads and toothpaste and soap.
I saw donations come in from companies like Panera and from individuals. I saw beans and pasta and peanut butter, which is to be expected. But I also saw chicken and apples and potatoes and beef and onions.
It made me realize that we can do so much. We can purchase extra tuna fish or a package of diapers. Pick up some shampoo and soap and deodorant. How about peanut butter and crackers or those tuna packets for the homeless. You know there are sales and coupons. What if we picked up a few extra items when we went to the supermarket. Do you have any idea what a difference we could make?
I left there today feeling humbled and grateful. People from all walks of life can fall on hard times. And sometimes we need a helping hand. I want to be that hand. I want to remember to be grateful for the things I have. And I want to remember to think of others when I am at the supermarket shopping for my family. I can certainly pick up shampoo and deodorant. And if chicken or beef is on sale, I can pick up that too.
Today I gave a few hours of my time. But I got so much more in return.
*Donations of Food, Clothing or Household Items
Donations of non-perishable food items for our food pantry can be dropped off at 10 Franklin Street, Monday – Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Thursday’s from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please use handicapped entrance through fence gate. Clothing and household items can be dropped off at our Distribution Center, located at 101 Washington Street, on Tuesdays from between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. We must limit clothing donations to two bags of in-season clothing.