Letters from Ash - catherinebird.net

The Power of Service & Community

Hi friends, Ash here!

I want to talk with you briefly about the power of service and community. With the damage Hurricane Harvey has left behind, it has been amazing to see not only the people in my local community, but also people all around the world come together to support the victims of this historic storm. It is truly incredible. In times like these, this is where we really see God’s beauty in mankind.

I heard on the news last week that Hurricane Harvey dumped a year’s worth of rain in one week on the Southeast Texas community. Think about that. It’s hard to even imagine. Recovery efforts are going to take years, maybe even decades. And the truth is many people whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will never be the same.

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to serve at my church to help with hurricane relief efforts by making flood buckets. I don’t know what I expected, but I did not expect to see the parking lot as full as if it were a busy Sunday morning. My mom, sister and I walked into our Family Life Center, and the room was literally busting at the seams with people. We listened to instructions and then took our turn down the assembly line where we added cleaning supplies, toiletries and other house necessities.

My heart felt so full being apart of something so meaningful. So many people were there to volunteer and help that we were only able to fill one bucket per person. What an awesome problem to have!

FUMC-RR HHRelief Efforts -2

One thing that I would encourage you girls to do is to find ways you can serve your community, and don’t let a lack of pennies keep you from making a positive difference. Of course, I recommend discussing with your moms to find the perfect way for you to volunteer. I also encourage you to serve together. There is no better way to build memories with your family than while you are also building community.

Plenty of places offer youth volunteer opportunities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • American Red Cross (click the link, then scroll down for opportunities for young people)
  • Austin Humane Society (must be 14 years old, and this requires a $20 orientation fee)
  • Central Texas Food Bank
  • Salvation Army (search by your zip code, then youth service opportunities)
  • SPCA of Texas (minimum age for volunteer is 10 with a parent; requires $50 for a parent/child team)
  • Check with your church or another local house of worship (they often coordinate community volunteer opportunities)
  • Mission trips (Look for mission trips from your area to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey)

Hurricane Harvey has shown me how important community is.

I’m going to be real here. Sometimes when it comes to volunteering, I don’t always feel like I do enough work or really make a difference. That is a lie that Satan tries to convince us is truth. However, the real truth is that any effort or time you put into these projects has meaning and impact.

My mom reminds my sister and me often that God created us for community. We weren’t created to make it alone, which is why in light of so many disheartening things we see and read in the news, that generosity and kindness we are seeing in response to Hurricane Harvey should give us hope.

Because there is hope.

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