Volunteering On Your Own Time

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is only a week away and in the next few days, our annual spike in Volunteer Fever will once again catch on as families plan for this holiday opportunity to get their kids and/or loved ones doing something that benefit the community.

One of the biggest volunteer events every year happens at the Marriott North Bethesda Conference Center where hundreds of service organizations gather and set up on-the-spot table projects such as assembling hygiene kits, recycling coasters for seniors, and constructing craft kits for children in hospitals.  While these are small, one-off ‘offerings’ to the community, participation is a great way to be exposed to all the various services that are ongoing and can open the door for longer-term more significant volunteer stints.

There’s only one problem: as of today, registration is full!  There are no more spaces.  If you have not already registered, they can no longer accommodate you.

But here at GGC, we have a better idea: volunteer all year long!  MLK Day is for those who need to be introduced to volunteering.  Thank you Dr. King, for inspiring this day.  At GGC, however, we believe that volunteering need not be a once-a-year event; rather, it can be a year-round lifestyle!

As the founding organization for the Let’s Read! Literacy Tutoring Program, GGC gives tutoring 2nd graders a lot of press.  In fact, we still need tutors!  If you’re interested, email the director (that’s me) at ngordon0522@gmail.com.  We start tomorrow!

But today I want to highlight a great volunteer opportunity for the busy family which finds it difficult to schedule around prescribed times:

Germantown HELP delivers food to shut-ins and less-than-mobile families almost every day of the week.  But here’s the good thing: they have no set time for delivery!  Each driver sets their own schedule for that day and delivers at that time.  I’ve done this so I know: let’s say the First Monday of the Month is my day.  That morning, I get an email from the director who confirms that I am available and then asks me when I would like to drive that day.  Usually I pick a window in the afternoon, like 3:30 – 5:00 or 5:00 – 6:30.  At the beginning of my self-determined ‘shift,’ I show up at the HELP pantry behind Trinity Methodist Church at 117 and Schaeffer Road with my car and load up.  Delivery to four to five homes rarely takes more than 90 minutes, usually less; all homes are in one of the Germantown zip codes.  The more hands you have to help, the better, so I like bringing kids along with me.  Recipients are so grateful and you have a very clear sense that you’re making a difference in someone’s life!

So there you have it: pick a day of the month, then pick your time of day that morning, and you will be a huge blessing to some truly needy families in your neighborhood.  The biggest need is on a weekday, Mondays through Thursdays.  If you’re interested, email the director, Cindy, at info.gtownhelp@gmail.com.  Tell her GGC sent you!

It’s not always easy to find a way of volunteering that fits your abilities, resources, interest, and most importantly, time.  But it’s worth pursuing.  Your community needs you.  Your world needs you!

And on that note, if you are still looking for something on MLK day, next Monday January 15, here’s a world concern you can do something very tangible about on that day.  Check it out!


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