“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” – Leo Buscaglia
As I write this, we are facing daily news updates about the coronavirus and how to best protect ourselves and those we love. This threat can be intimidating. I am grateful for the people working hard to protect and treat all of us here in Anchorage, throughout Alaska, and globally. I have confidence in these medical professionals and hold them close in my prayers. While news evolves, here at Catholic Social Services, our top priority is the health of our clients, staff, and volunteers.
We have started assessing what we need to do as an organization to protect our clients and the community. One of the things we have discussed is temporarily limiting volunteer activities. This would assure that volunteers are not put at risk and would also limit the number of people coming into our program facilities to protect everyone.
As we think about this possibility, I am reminded of how essential volunteers are to our everyday function here at Catholic Social Services. Daily operations would not be possible without you, our volunteers. Your service is much more than just volunteering. Your time and talents show our clients how much love and support there is for them in our community. Your acts are acts of love.
I am reminded of so many volunteers I have met here at Catholic Social Services. I think of volunteers teaching in our Welcome Center every week, sharing information, education and joy with our refugee clients. I think of the incredible outpour of love at Clare House this summer to keep us open and the many volunteers who continue to staff our front desk each week. I think of the Meals Teams in many of our programs that feed our clients – sharing the most basic gift of love, food. I think of all the volunteers on our Board of Trustees, our Advisory Councils, our Charity Ball Committee, and so many more. I think of the volunteers at the Foot Clinic at Brother Francis Shelter who wash the feet of our guests, displaying love and kindness.
I want to highlight the wonderful volunteers at St. Francis House Food Pantry. Volunteers serve as personal shoppers every day we are open. They walk through the pantry with each client to assist and support them. Volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life partner with St. Francis House and organize our warehouse and prepare food for the shelves. Volunteers are what makes St. Francis House run. There is one volunteer who has been with St. Francis House for a long time, and who manages a great deal at the back of the house. Her name is Cecilia. Cecelia comes in every day we are open and helps people understand how the warehouse works and keeps things running smoothly. She even brings in special treats for other volunteers to snack on. Cecelia has become a part of our team at St. Francis House, and we are so grateful for her talent and her beautiful spirit.
I began with the quote from Leo Buscaglia about your talent. We each have a talent, and as my Granny used to tell me as a child, “God gave you that for you to use. Don’t hide it.” We are so grateful to all of you who share and “use” your talents with us. We are grateful to you. We invite those of you who are looking for ways to share your talents to reach out to us.