United Church of Christ

Volunteer Corner

Amalie Cummins

hj.jpgFirst off, there are many places to volunteer and there are also many missions in each state that need help in many different ways. When I was 14 I went on my first mission trip with my grandparents to Mexico. When there we did and completed a couple different tasks, I also got to meet some pretty amazing people. When I returned home I felt uplifted, refreshed and just really good on the inside ... That is where it all began. I am 25 years old and I decided to volunteer at the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi. Here I worked for 3 days doing different things, I helped add a second coat of paint to one of the houses that is being finished, I helped at the MICCAH Day center and I also helped at the food pantry. My grandparents come down to work/volunteer at the mission every year after Christmas. My mom, family members and family friends have all volunteered at the mission before and some still return every year. I have been hearing so many things about Back Bay Mission for quite a few years I just had to go.

I arrived on a Friday and got to watch a little exit interview of the group that came before me. Monday is when work began; I got woken up bright and early (7 am) did my morning routine and followed my grandma Jeanette over to the mission. I wanted to try to volunteer at every place possible, so I could see what everything was and how it ran and what I liked doing more. At about 8:45 the construction volunteers left for the work site. The house was pretty close to being finished. We had people laying floors, painting; adding shelves doors and many other things at the house. I love to point, so that's the task I chose to help with. The inside really only needed a second coat of paint, but it still took 3 people and the entire time I was there Monday and I am sure it took longer than that. At noon everyone sat down for our lunch and to relax, Work ended about at 4 pm. The house is gorgeous, Back Bay Mission and the volunteers do a wonderful job on the houses!

Tuesday, I volunteered at the Micah Day Center. Here I helped make coffee, make sure the pot in the main room was full, made sure showers were clean between people using them, I labeled bags of different items and I let people know how much longer they had in the shower before their time was up. I am a very shy person, but people would introduce themselves and some even talked to me. One person really touched my heart, we sat and talked for about 20 minutes. He did not hesitate to talk to me about his recent struggles. While hearing everything he had to say my heart just sunk for him, but he wasn't crying he didn't seem sad he just wanted someone to listen to him. He talked to me like he knew me, I listened as he finished putting his socks and shoes on. It also really stood out to me that a lot of the people there looked close to my age, this made me realize how blessed I am to have what I have.

The third day I worked at the food pantry, here I walked around a room with people and depending if they were a Micah Day Center person, a household of l or even a house hold of 7 I helped with a list of food items they got to pick from and quantity of the items. Everyone was just so grateful. Some people even stood there just to talk after they were done, it didn't matter about what, but they seemed to smile more before they left. People even said God bless you as they walked out with their bags of food. That day we had some fresh produce that was donated, I have never seen a person so excited about tomatoes or fruit like the people that come for help there. I realized that I take simple things like that for granted.

Since I've returned home I have actually sent a little Easter goodie box to one of the men at the MICAH center. I also plan on returning next year. I would love to make and bring blankets, food and other things to donate next year. If any of you have a chance to volunteer don't hesitate!!!

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