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The greatest give you can give is yourself

I was not raised to sit still. I was raised to make good use of my time and improve the lives of others, whenever possible.

During the holidays, I usually find myself volunteering for local nonprofits, exchanging cookies with my friend, Kristen, and her loved ones, or watching “The Boy,” (my son,) perform in Open Stage Harrisburg’s annual A Christmas Carol.

This year my usual volunteer opportunities, social gatherings, and forcing our village to come see The Boy on stage are not available, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

For as long as I can remember, my mother and extended family have volunteered at soup kitchens, preparing meals for community members in need, or donating their time to an organization that could use a few more hands. I was starting to feel a little down as Thanksgiving approached and I could not really identify the source of unrest, until The Boy asked me where we were going to help this year.

A few days later, I was presented with an opportunity to feed the Harrisburg community with the NFL Sunday Night Grill and Mel’s Rock N’ BBQ, a local food truck. I was joined by fellow Mommy Blogger, Beth Montgomery and her daughter, The Boy, his best friend, and the Mel’s Rock N’ BBQ team on the eve of Thanksgiving, at the Bethsda Mission Community Center.

We served over 300 meals on Wednesday. As the boys and I delivered an additional 300 meals to the Bethsda Mission’s Men’s, I overheard The Boy reflecting on the event and how he actually enjoyed volunteering. It is always more rewarding when my son enjoys donating his time with me.

I always feel it is important to donate and advocate for organizations that support and uplift the community. This year, I am even more driven to fundraise, donate and promote those organizations. So, what can you do to help the individuals and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
1. Donate to nonprofits helping to respond to COVID-19 or other organizations that have directly helped you or your loved ones.
2. Volunteer for organizations that are providing critical services in your community. There are virtual volunteering opportunities, such as tutoring, grant writing, volunteer coordination, or reading stories to children over social media platforms.
3. Your voice is powerful! Use it to advocate for the individuals and organizations that need help from the community.

For me volunteering has always taught me to be grateful for what I have been granted in life and has widened my perspective on how lucky I truly am. In the words of Authur Ashe, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. Volunteer!

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