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Community Service Benefits of Volunteer Work to Feed the Hungry

Updated on July 19, 2017
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Janis is heavily involved in community service which includes running a bi-weekly breakfast program for the homeless and families in need.

Community Service Organizations Enjoy Volunteering to Feed the Hungry

Community service and volunteering are core values of organizations like Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Psi Nu Chapter, based in Alexandria, VA. They serve at the breakfast program twice a month at Saint George's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.
Community service and volunteering are core values of organizations like Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Psi Nu Chapter, based in Alexandria, VA. They serve at the breakfast program twice a month at Saint George's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. | Source

Positive Experiences with Volunteering

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Serving the Community by Feeding the Hungry

Volunteer work is a wonderful vehicle by which members of a community can lend a helping hand to individuals in need.

Having an opportunity to give back and make a difference in someone's life is a deed with immeasurable benefits to all parties involved.

Those benefits can extend to the community at-large by providing vital services that local city and governmental agencies cannot always render to the number of citizens in dire need.

For example, volunteers in cities across the United States and around the world offer and run feeding programs for the hungry on a daily basis, making provisions to countless individuals and families.

According to Feeding America, the USDA reported that in 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children.

Regarding the need for food assistance, 57.2 percent of these households participated in at least one of three programs provided by the federal government (Food Stamp Program, School Lunch Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children).

So there is clearly a need for volunteers, along with organizations, to do their part in alleviating hunger in our communities. The unexpected benefits to those who participate in this type of community service is that they feel happier within themselves as they positively touch the lives of those in need.

Cooking Breakfast for Those in Need of Nourishment

Volunteer makes pancakes for bi-weekly breakfast program for the needy.
Volunteer makes pancakes for bi-weekly breakfast program for the needy. | Source

Families Attend the Breakfast Program

Families with young children benefit from a hot, nutritious breakfast which helps curb the food budget.
Families with young children benefit from a hot, nutritious breakfast which helps curb the food budget. | Source
Patrons look forward to a hot meal and the biweekly fellowship.
Patrons look forward to a hot meal and the biweekly fellowship. | Source

Serving Food Provides a Basic Need

In Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the quest for human beings to reach "self-actualization" is defined by the ability to have certain basic needs met at five progressive levels. These include, in order of need:

  • Biological/Physiological
  • Safety
  • Belonging/Love
  • Esteem/Accomplishment
  • Self-fulfillment/Personal Growth

The need for food is in the first stage. All human beings have a very basic need for food to sustain, giving the daily energy needed for functioning and survival.

Unfortunately, social issues such as neglect, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, addiction, and unexpected traumatic loss and disaster can cause this basic need to go unmet indefinitely.

Breakfast Programs Provide Opportunities to Serve

Volunteers look forward to serving the plates of bacon, eggs and pancakes.
Volunteers look forward to serving the plates of bacon, eggs and pancakes. | Source

Volunteers and Community Service

In our country, volunteers pick up a huge part of the slack by organizing and providing food services through:

  • Soup kitchens
  • Mobile feeding trucks
  • Food pantries
  • Breakfast programs
  • Emergency food banks
  • Care packages for the ill, elderly, and housebound
  • Partnerships with farmers' markets and grocers
  • Monetary donations to non-profits and churches

As volunteers provide these vital services to the hungry, they receive unexpected blessings themselves. There is something very innate about being able to feed someone who is hungry as a mother feeds her child.

It is a sacred act to feed someone who had not received a hot, home-cooked, nutritious meal in a long time, regardless of his or her circumstances. It warms the hearts and souls of the volunteer as it fills the body and spirit of the receiver. Participation in community service benefits all parties involved on many levels.

Teens Participate in Community Service

High school students come to the Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program for community service hours.
High school students come to the Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program for community service hours. | Source

Volunteers Bless the Food and the Kitchen

Volunteers pause for prayer in the kitchen before serving breakfast at the Kwanzaa Kitchen.
Volunteers pause for prayer in the kitchen before serving breakfast at the Kwanzaa Kitchen. | Source

Volunteers Participating in Their Bi-Weekly Community Service at a Breakfast Program

Volunteering Really is Good for the Soul of the Giver

Studies have shown that there are physical and psychological benefits to those who volunteer. They are happier and healthier individuals who live longer compared to the rest of the population. This is partly because they are supplying a need, giving from the heart, with no expectation of anything in return.

This act of unconditional love lifts the spirit, giving a boost to overall health and well-being. In turn, happier, healthier people become better members of society creating a win-win for all.

Make a Difference in Your Community

As you ponder what difference you can make in your community, consider volunteering at a feeding program. Better yet, explore where there is a need in your neighborhood or a city near you.

Start one with a group of friends, your fraternity, sorority, or church group. It could start out as simple as handing a container of soup to a homeless person, straight from your own kitchen.

In a nation as rich and plentiful as ours, no individual or family should go hungry or be malnourished. Feed the hungry and feed your soul.

If there aren't many opportunities in your area to be involved in a feeding program, look at the poll in this article to get ideas about what you can do. There are people in need of a helping hand in every community. Contact your local social service agency or volunteer clearinghouse for information.

Community Service is the Cornerstone of Greek Organizations

Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. are students at Bowie State University.
Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. are students at Bowie State University. | Source
Volunteers and members of Psi Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. are regulars at the bi-weekly program.
Volunteers and members of Psi Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. are regulars at the bi-weekly program. | Source

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      God bless you for the work you do, Jan!

      Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

      bill

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      A bit prejudice on this, as I have been a volunteer for well over 26 years. Keep up the work of our Lord. Let your light shine. Thank you

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, Mhatter99. I appreciate your comment and the encouragement. You are very welcome.

    • janshares profile image
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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for your blessing, billybuc. I wish you and yours a blessed and Happy New Year as well.

    • Anna Sternfeldt profile image

      Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

      Great stuff!! Good info and you are a model for us all. We should all do volunteer work!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Anna, very nice of you to say. Thank you for coming by, I'm glad you enjoyed this very important article. See you soon again.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I couldn't agree more. I enjoy volunteering with the vets. We take them bowling every week and I have established some great friendships and received amazing life stories as well. Good for you. I am proud of you.

    • janshares profile image
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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks so much, glad we have that in common. I definitely consider the guys I feed at the breakfast program my friends.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      I enjoyed reading this as both my husband & I have been a volunteer . There are many rewards you receive for your time and effort. We got to be on a boat right by the Sydney Harbour bridge one New Years Eve watching the fireworks as Nev was a volunteer on the boats ! Voting you up .

    • janshares profile image
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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks, freecampingaussie. I'm so glad you enjoyed and related to this hub. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Hello again janshares, I am on the board of a non-profit community project and take pleasure in volunteering at least 7 hours per week. I agree that volunteers receive a lot of happiness from this work - I certainly feel I get more than I give. Good to meet others who have discovered the joy of volunteering. Great article, thanks.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Wow Vicki, you do a lot. That's great. I love what I do as well through outreach ministry at my church. It's very rewarding. Thanks for stopping by and liking this article.

    • Frangipanni profile image

      Frangipanni 4 years ago

      Great hub, janshares. It is so true. I'm sure we would all feel better about ourselves if we realised giving more, not taking more feeds the soul. voted up and now following you. Have a nice day.

    • janshares profile image
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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you so much, Frangipanni. I'm so glad you liked the message of this hub. I appreciate your visit and vote. Thank you kindly for the follow, too.

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Yes, indeed this is God's work! Our community has been devastated in the recent years with job losses so my church has just added a new food pantry. We have collected food for years for other organizations but we decided to run one of our own. We also help with utility bills as well. Great Hub...voted up!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for taking the time to read this hub, mvillecat. I'm glad you liked it, good work you all are doing at your church. Bless you.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 3 years ago from California

      Volunteer work is so mutually beneficial, it is a part of learning and growing, giving back to society just feels right! Case in point- At St. Anthony's Dining Room in San Francisco there is actually a waiting list to volunteer serving during the Holidays! Someone is being nourished at and it isn't just the homeless! What a privilege it is to help others and get that feel-good buzz. Great Hub Jan-Voted up and Awesome!

    • janshares profile image
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      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks so much, Chatkath. Your comments are spot on, so right. I appreciate you dropping in to read and vote.

    • profile image

      lynn 3 months ago

      great job, coming with this idea

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you so much, lynn. Appreciate your comment. Community service is very much needed, so many people in need.

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