The Gifts Of Giving
What do you call mandatory volunteer work? Community service. Can anything positive come from making someone give up their time to do service work? Brian and Cindy’s story answers this very question.
Brian lives in one of our Men’s sober living homes, and his version of their story starts like this, “What started out as a way for me to complete community service for drug court has turned into something so much more.”
Cindy, the Director of the New Life Worship Center Food Pantry, recalls, “I remember the day when we met Brian. He came to get food for the Purpose House guys.” Cindy says, “Becoming a servant has changed Brian. He has grown from the place of needing food to making sure that everyone who comes on Wednesday night goes home with as much food as we can possibly package in their boxes.”
At first, serving at the Food Pantry wasn’t optional for Brian, but week after week, he kept showing up and honoring his commitment. Cindy says, “The last year has been a year of change. After a few months of helping us, Brian said ‘I will give you a year. I want to serve the people at the pantry.’ I have never had a person say this to me."
The Gift of Humility
Brian noticed the change as well. He says, “This has been one of the biggest things that has helped me in my recovery. It has given me much needed humility that is something I needed to let go of my ego. Humility is necessary to walk with God (Micah 6:8).”
Recovery isn’t about changing our true identity, it’s about polishing and shining the good inside us that often gets buried beneath the addiction and/or trauma. Each week, Cindy gets to see Brian’s true character. He’s dependable. He’s compassionate, and Brian’s a leader.
The Gift of Perseverance
Cindy says, “He comes in early to organize and prep. He stays late cleaning up and preparing for the next time we get to serve our pantry guests. He comes and does the behind the scenes work on his days off. He is full of joy and spreads it to every person who passes through our doors.”
Brian’s love for the food pantry is contagious. Cindy says, “He leads by example and submission with no partiality. He has brought other wonderful loving people to come and serve whom he has trained.”
The Gift of Friendship
Brian’s favorite part of volunteering at the food pantry is the people. He says, “I love having the opportunity to talk to each of the people that show up and learning about their lives and families and sharing the word of God to those around. It’s a blessing for me to have the opportunity to share my joy and happiness with everyone.”
The only remaining question is, “How long will Brian stay?” A few months ago Cindy asked Brian and he said, "OK I am upping it to a year and a half!!"
Want to see what’s so special about this Food Pantry?
Come by and visit Brian and Cindy. The New Life Worship Center Food Pantry on 2105 Worrington Street in Sarasota is open every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:00 PM. But be careful, Brian just might rope you into being a volunteer. (P.S., The turkeys are not always available. They were a treat for Thanksgiving, but not to worry. As long as Brian's there, you'll leave with plenty to delicious food!)