Janis is heavily involved in community service which includes running a bi-weekly breakfast program for the homeless and families in need.
Serving by Feeding
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
Positive Experiences with Volunteering
Families Attend the Breakfast Program
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:
- 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. The millennial term used to refer to those neighborhoods with limited access to nutritious food is "food insecure." The term removes the stigma away from those who do not have access or means and places responsibility on the businesses and organizations to address lack of food supplies in neglected areas.
Breakfast Programs Provide Opportunities to Serve
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. Food provides comfort and safety.
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
Volunteers Participating in Their Bi-Weekly Community Service at a Breakfast Program
Volunteers Bless the Food and the Kitchen
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.
Making 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 a feeding program 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 feeding program opportunities in your area, 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, churches, non-profits, or volunteer clearinghouse for information.
Community Service is the Cornerstone of Greek Organizations
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 24, 2017:
Thank you so much, lynn. Appreciate your comment. Community service is very much needed, so many people in need.
lynn on April 24, 2017:
great job, coming with this idea
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 10, 2013:
Thanks so much, Chatkath. Your comments are spot on, so right. I appreciate you dropping in to read and vote.
Kathy from California on August 10, 2013:
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!
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 18, 2013:
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.
Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on March 17, 2013:
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!
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 13, 2013:
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.
Frangipanni on February 13, 2013:
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.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 19, 2013:
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.
Vickiw on January 19, 2013:
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.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:
Thanks, freecampingaussie. I'm so glad you enjoyed and related to this hub. Thanks for stopping by.
freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on January 08, 2013:
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 .
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 05, 2013:
Thanks so much, glad we have that in common. I definitely consider the guys I feed at the breakfast program my friends.
Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 05, 2013:
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.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 31, 2012:
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.
Anna Sternfeldt from Svenljunga, Sweden on December 31, 2012:
Great stuff!! Good info and you are a model for us all. We should all do volunteer work!
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 29, 2012:
Thank you for your blessing, billybuc. I wish you and yours a blessed and Happy New Year as well.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 29, 2012:
Thank you, Mhatter99. I appreciate your comment and the encouragement. You are very welcome.
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on December 29, 2012:
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
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2012:
God bless you for the work you do, Jan!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!