Lately I have been thinking a lot the well-known phrase “ask and you shall receive” in regards to my year of service at St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) thus far. If I have needed a resource of some sort, all I have had to do was ask people at work and someone would have an answer. Whether it be something work-related, like how to enter an individual into the database, or something else, such as where to find the best chili in the area, they have always been able to provide more information than I initially needed. For instance, this past weekend the other Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati (VVC) members and myself decided that we would travel to Red River Gorge in Kentucky for a little outdoor camping, hiking, and house bonding. We decided to ask some nearby friends and people at work for camping supplies, and boy did they deliver! We were able to get an 8 person tent, sleeping bags for everyone, sleeping pads, and a cooler with wheels (amongst other things). We had a great time not only because we were able to spend a relaxing weekend with one another, but also because we felt so blessed that everyone had generously lent us their camping gear so that we could have a great camping experience together.
In addition to the “ask and you shall receive” phrase, I have also recently been thinking a lot about the story of the loaves and the fishes from the Bible where Jesus was able to provide more than enough food for the large group of people who came to listen to him speak. After only working at SVDP for about 2 months, I already feel part of a large family consisting of the people who work there. Oftentimes there have been leftovers from an event or a meeting and everyone immediately thinks to give them to us VVC members first. Another time this theme has recently rang true has been during our annual RetroFittings fundraiser; this event involves an auction, raffle, and fashion show in which fashion students from the University of Cincinnati receive $10 clothing vouchers to be redeemed at one of our SVDP thrift stores and then have to make an outfit out of the materials they buy. An email went out to everyone who works at SVDP asking for volunteers for this night of fundraising. Once I arrived to volunteer myself, I realized that at least 90% of the staff had showed up to help out with this event. It was great to see everyone come to work together for a common cause, just like at work when people help out in the food pantry or with the holiday programs when extra help is needed. I kept thinking to myself that the turn-out for volunteers at RetroFittings (as well as the enthusiasm they brought along with them) was as abundant as the loaves and the fishes in the story.
This year I hope to continue to get to know everyone at work even better, especially when collaborating these next 2 months on our various holiday programs that we offer. I also hope to be able to grow as a person through my experiences at SVDP by keeping the Vincentian values of faith, friendship, and service always in the forefront of my thoughts, words, and actions.
Jeanette is a current Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati (VVC) member participating in a year of service who is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She currently works at St. Vincent de Paul in the social services department as a client advocate and bed program facilitator. She looks forward to making a difference in the lives of others during this year of service.