by Ken Williams
As a kid, Lent meant depriving myself of some tasty treat or television program. Sacrificial? Yes. Satisfying? Not always.
As an adult, I grew to love the Lenten season. I found that, while denying myself of certain luxuries is a worthy sacrifice, giving of myself — time, talent and treasure —feels more gratifying.
Fortunately, at Catholic Charities, I’m surrounded with numerous occasions to live out the Gospel mandate to serve others in need.
If you’re looking to get involved this Lent, please consider the multitude of volunteer ways you can carry out the corporal works of mercy at Catholic Charities.
Feed the hungry.
Donating to your parish food drive is a simple way to get even the youngest members of the family involved. Consider letting them help shop for and deliver the food contributions so they can better understand how they help make a difference.
Join us at Hope Distribution Center to see where all that food goes before being transported to our pantries. At the warehouse, all food donations are sorted and categorized to ensure a balanced inventory for our eight food pantries. Here, walk-in freezers provide storage for frozen foods.
If you abstain from meat on Fridays, perhaps donate it instead — our pantries seldom have enough meat for families.
Clothe the naked.
TurnStyles thrift store offers a great volunteer activity for families looking for a project they can do together. Volunteers assist by sorting and hanging the gently used clothing as well as collecting and organizing other donated items. With our new location at 135th and Nieman in Overland Park opening this March, the need for donations and volunteers is great.
Shelter the homeless.
Shalom House offers shelter to men experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, Kansas. After spending the day looking for or gaining the skills necessary to work, these men return to Shalom House. Your family or group can volunteer to prepare, serve and share dinner with the guests.
Visit the sick.
Catholic Community Hospice provides compassionate end-of-life care. Hospice volunteers sometimes read to patients, pray with them or simply sit by their side.
Would you consider giving an hour a week to provide companionship and emotional support to patients facing a life-limiting illness?
In addition, Catholic Charities provides opportunities for volunteers to ease the isolation and loneliness of homebound seniors through our Friendly Visitors program. Volunteers make daily phone calls to check on a senior’s well-being or visit weekly to lift their spirits.
Of course, becoming a Catholic Charities volunteer isn’t just limited to the Lenten season. Opportunities to love your neighbor exist year round. Let us help you find an avenue to put love into action.
For more information about volunteering, visit us online at: catholic charitiesks.org/volunteer.