With a Little Help from Our Friends

Posted on Posted in Arts & Smarts, Hospitality

Patchwork has some fantastic, dedicated staff members. They care deeply about the people we serve and they care about Patchwork as an organization. We are grateful for what they do, but they can only do so much.

How do we do more? Volunteers!

In the last 12 months, over 300 individuals have contributed their time to keep our food pantry operating, to keep the coffee percolating, to keep the bike tires spinning, to keep children learning, and to keep Patchwork operating. It adds up to well over 4500 hours! That’s roughly one volunteer hour for every one hour of paid staff time dedicated to our programming!

We’re very grateful for their contribution, and we hope that their experience goes beyond simply feeling good about helping a worthwhile cause. We hope to be a place for people to come together, learn from one another, and grow through this knowledge.

Helen Fisher is one example. 

She says: I don’t know why I didn’t volunteer to help with Hospitality when you first asked last November. I should have, but I didn’t. A couple months later, I agreed to do it and I’m so glad I did. This has been just wonderful.

Helen is among the group of volunteers who come in the morning during hospitality time. They make coffee, see that we’re stocked on snacks, share the newspaper with guests, and chat. Their presence helps to make our space friendlier. Everyone sits around the same table chatting and learning more about one another. It’s one of the ways Patchwork builds community.

And speaking of volunteers: Our after school Arts & Smarts program will be back in session starting on Tuesday, September 5. Jane and Dixie are both looking for volunteers to help with art and tutoring. Program times are 2:45 pm-5:00 pm, Monday-Thursday. Visit our website (www.patchwork.org) or call our main office (812) 424-2735 for more information.

Notes from 40 Years at Patchwork:

Living in community is singing Happy Birthday on Sunday night to two or three people in the same song, trying to fit all their names where the meter only has room for two syllables. Living in community is going to the kitchen to wash your plate after Thursday night community meal and ending up washing half a dozen plates and half of the serving bowls too. Or on a luckier night, it’s having someone take your empty plate from in front of you as you linger at the table in conversation. Living in community is being ready for Monday morning school or work by Sunday afternoon, in case Sunday night community meeting is long and tiring. It is being constantly amazed at the pain people can endure, the generosity they can show, the wisdom they express. Living in community is walking to Fourth of July fireworks with fifteen other people and having plenty of shoulders to carry the little children. It’s having other people who will listen to your ideas, join you in a diet, go to the movie your husband (wife or steady date) doesn’t want to see, sit on your porch, pick up your kids from soccer practice, or ask you to do the same. Living in community is looking in the faces of people you love during Sunday evening worship and loving them in spite of themselves during the week. It’s surely the hardest, and the most rewarding way to try to live.

–Jean Beckman, Stitches newsletter, May 1986

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