Thank you to all volunteers! Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

When I’ve helped prepare and serve a meal at the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison, I always come away with a feeling of satisfaction.

I’ve played a role in providing a nutritious meal which the guests appreciate. And I have spent some time volunteering in our community. Hot meals are served every day of the week at the CMC, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who supply the food, get it ready, and serve it to the guests.

The CMC — like so many Church organizations — depends on volunteers. Volunteers are essential in our Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals and health care facilities, and other agencies such as Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Thanking volunteers

Although volunteers often work quietly and don’t expect any reward, it is still important to let them know that their work is appreciated.

That’s why April 1o to 16 is being observed as National Volunteer Week. It is a time to give thanks to some 62 million Americans who donate almost eight billion hours of their time each year to causes that are close to their hearts.
National Volunteer Week in the United States was established by a presidential proclamation signed by President Richard Nixon in 1974. In our country, the week is organized by the Points of Light Foundation.

Witnessing to their faith

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that National Volunteer Week often falls within the Easter season. It is appropriate because volunteers are often witnessing to their faith in serving others.

Pope Francis voiced his appreciation for faith-based volunteers by saying, “There are many people who are in need of a human gesture, a smile, a word of truth, a witness through which they can apprehend the closeness of Jesus Christ. Do not deny anyone this sign of love and tenderness that comes from faith.”

Benefits of volunteering

As a volunteer in my own parish, I feel that I receive as much as I give. Reaching out to others does provide benefits to the volunteer, although that should not be our main reason for volunteering.

The National Volunteer Week website points to scientific evidence that volunteering is good for physical and mental health. Researchers note such benefits as lower blood pressure, less stress, and longer lives being associated with volunteering.

During National Volunteer Week and throughout the year, let’s make an effort to thank all volunteers for the services they provide. I also encourage people to volunteer for a Church or community program. There are so many ways we can use our God-given talents to help others and thereby make the world a better place.