Volunteering with Project Open Hand
I’ve always loved the idea of helping people. I even went to school to be a nurse because I wanted to dedicate my life to helping those in need. Although I didn’t end up moving forward in the medical field, I’ve found other ways to help people. For the past 10 years, I’ve participated in a number of volunteer services through the INC Giving Project, like playing board games with and singing to the elderly, planting trees in my neighborhood, cleaning up the coastline, tutoring children, and donating clothes to those in need during the wintertime…the list can go on and on. But there was one specific time that I will not forget: being a Project Open Hand volunteer.
Food kitchens are a great place to volunteer because you’re helping to provide people with something that is very pertinent to life—food. Not everyone has the privilege of having food ready and available to put on the table for their family every night, but places like Project Open Hand strive to do just that for the sick and vulnerable, who may find it difficult to even get out and grocery shop for themselves.
This particular activity will always be near and dear to my heart because my co-workers and I were able to do this as a team. We searched for volunteer opportunities in San Francisco, took the day to drive out and dedicated our time to providing meals for the residents. We all had our INC Giving shirts on, rubber gloves, and caps—we were ready to get to work. We were assigned a variety of different tasks, like portioning frozen meat or ravioli and putting them into bags, gathering items on a grocery list for specific clients and handing it to them, sealing bags of different foods to place in the shop area, and much more. Some of those tasks were done together as a group, then we eventually split up to perform other jobs.
We were able to meet many people who regularly spend time volunteering with Project Open Hand SF. We were also able to see the smiles of many clients who were so happy to have food to bring home that night. For me, that was the biggest take-away—knowing that I helped in putting a smile on someone’s face meant the world to me. That’s the reason I enjoy helping people in the first place.
It was such a great experience to be able to bond with my co-workers, all the while collectively spending our time for a better purpose. We were able to help people, and whether the act was big or small, to us didn’t matter. The look on the faces of the clients spoke volumes of the thankfulness they felt for Project Open Hand and their volunteers.
If you’ve been thinking about volunteering, take this as your sign to get out there and make someone’s day a little bit better. Even if all you have time to do is write a quick note and leave it on someone’s car—any act of kindness, big or small, will make a difference in someone else’s day. We all know what it’s like to have an act of kindness done for us. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all just passed that around and everyone around us felt like that too?
About the author:
Rachelle Jen Radoc is a producer and staff writer at INC Media. She is also an active INC Giving volunteer in the Bay Area. She joined the Church Of Christ in 2010 and loves singing in the choir. Rachelle is a BTS fan who loves going to the gym. She and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their young son.