Mike On Purpose

Finding purpose in the twenty-first century

The Human Connection

Posted by mikeonpurpose on July 14, 2010

While volunteering for One Brick recently, I had a conversation with another volunteer about other volunteer activities each of us had done.  I mentioned that I had found it particularly satisfying to participate in food distribution events because, in the act of handing food directly to the recipient, I was experiencing a direct human connection with the people who were benefiting from the work I was doing.  The other volunteer said that she had once done something similar but had found in that case that the people she was interacting with were not particularly grateful and she found that frustrating.

That had not really been my own experience.  While it was true that some of the people who I handed food to were selective about which kinds of food they wanted, I didn’t consider that to be due to a lack of gratitude.  Being a picky eater myself, I can actually relate.  Many of the recipients of the food distribution at that event were immigrants who perhaps did not speak a lot of English, many were elderly, and I could only imagine what drove them to take the step of waiting in line to receive whatever amounts of food could be given to them.  My heart went out to them.  I think that any kind of volunteer work can be satisfying, but having that direct contact with the people I was helping had a special quality.


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