By Rebecca Murray
One of the reasons I chose Northstar — and GAP in particular — was the service component. I have wanted to give back to the community but have always been confused on where to begin. At our October BIG Group, I learned about the opportunities available to assist local food programs. In addition, the calendar function on VolunteerSpot for scheduling made it easy to visually see available times and get reminders about confirmed dates.
For my first service visit, I chose the Interfaith Food Pantry in Blacksburg. Before I went there, I was a little nervous since I had no idea what to expect. As soon as I arrived, I had to pass a line already formed at the door. It was heartbreaking to see so many individuals and families in need.
I was quickly brought up to speed on what I needed to do and how the process worked. It turns out that the whole set-up is not complicated and that the only variable is dependent on family size—the larger the family, the more food provided. I was put in charge of the meats/cheeses/produce and bread. Bethany Avera was also there volunteering and she was taking care of all the dry goods.
As people checked in, they would often give you a little background on why they were coming to a food pantry. Most had fallen on hard times and needed some help to get back on their feet. One lady came in and looked at the Bibles placed at the main check-in table. At first she picked up the complimentary Bible but then she placed it back down and instead took the children’s Bible – saying that one was easier for her to read and understand. I thought about how she wanted to learn more about God and experience His blessing in her life. For me personally, this one situation exemplified what it means to be a Christian. Here this lady is struggling and yet she connected that the food pantry was a blessing from a much Higher Power than the local community.
At the end of the evening when we locked the door, I was amazed at how quickly the time had passed and that even though hunger may be a large problem locally, God is with all of us, all the time. We need to trust in Him and believe that whatever we need in our lives, He will provide.