By Julie Nelson
I have been asked to share my experience about the “management” aspects of Feed My People breakfasts. First of all, I got involved initially because I was curious and decided to attend the breakfast on FUMC’s Fourth Tuesday sponsorship day as a volunteer. I did not think that I could get up that early on a regular basis, but once a month? Sure, I can get up before 4:00 a.m. and go down to the Family Life Center to help out once a month.
I truly got more out of this experience than I put in it. I put in three hours a month and helped feed the people who were on the streets and the working poor who are not necessarily homeless, but run out of money towards the end of the month. It really makes you appreciate all that you have and realize how blessed you are when you see these people come in for food, fellowship, a shower, toiletries, and worship or AA meetings.
Along the way, I got to know and respect lots of dedicated volunteers. I was awed to find out that some of them have been coming regularly for over 20 years! I have met others who come on their sponsorship day and have greatly expanded my friendships with people in other churches and denominations.
Ann Teich asked if I would be interested in joining the Foundation for the Homeless Board of Directors a few years ago. I had served on a Research and Education Foundation Board of Directors for several years and I missed the opportunity to work with others toward a common goal. As time went by, I helped with the annual fundraisers and now have become Chair of the Foundation for the Homeless Board of Directors, which is the sponsoring organization for Feed My People.
When I began serving on the Board of Directors, I started coming every Tuesday and Thursday to help wherever needed. I have helped organize the volunteers to do specific jobs so that they feel like they have contributed. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to see the volunteers get so much out of helping “the least of these” as Jesus asked us to.
Now, I also help purchase the food for the breakfasts and try to help fundraise to pay for the breakfasts when we do not have a church sponsor. It may not always be the “hands on” volunteering experience, but all of these things need to be done. My “management” experience with the Foundation for the Homeless and Feed My People has challenged me to do things I have never done before. With a committee of other volunteers, we reviewed resumes, interviewed and hired a wonderful Executive Director for the Foundation for the Homeless. It is certainly not always easy, but the rewards are worth it.