Are you looking for activities that can add meaning to your life?
Recently a patient shared how helpless he feels when he can’t do anything for people suffering from hunger. I shared with him an experience that most people can easily do with a little compassion, time and motivation. That inspired him. Let me share that with you in this article.
I told him that I packed frozen food for few hours over the weekend and it felt meaningful, exciting, and fun. He asked, how can packing frozen food be meaningful? It could be if you know that your simple act of service is going to help feed your hungry neighbors.
You may think that only people far away suffer from hunger, but if we look close by, you may find that even cities like Seattle, one of the fastest growing cities in the US, can have hunger problems. In Western Washington alone, 1/7 people suffer from hunger problem out of which 1/5 are children.
From time to time, I volunteer at Seattle Food Lifeline as part of I-CERV events. I-CERV stands for Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering. This group arranges many volunteering opportunities, and my favorite one is packing food for hungry families.
Food Lifeline rescues food from farmers, manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants – and provides the food to more than 300 food banks, shelters and meal programs across Western Washington. Every day, the Seattle-based nonprofit creates the equivalent of 116,000 meals for hungry children, adults, and seniors.
The Giver gets the benefit too
Service activities like this not only help the beneficiaries, it also helps many people at many levels. Let me take you through a few steps we went thru. Notice how givers get the benefits too.
- Organizing the event: A group of youth and sports board team members of Shia Imami Muslim community worked together to organize the event, educate and motivate, register, distribute shirts, etc. Working together to organize the event helps develop each member’s skill of teamwork and leadership.
- Several volunteers got to the Food Lifeline at 9 am on a Saturday morning. Communities coming together for higher purpose strengthen the value system for everyone including the kids who participate.
- The staff showed us a movie on how 40% of food produced gets wasted every year yet Food lifeline brings food to the people who need it. The staff helped us feel excited and inspired as we realized that we were part of a big endeavor. This activity helped both the staff and volunteers feel a positive energy.
- Staff showed us different roles and the group divided into subgroups to label, unpack, fill smaller packets for individual distribution, weigh, stock boxes with 12 packets of 2 lbs. each. As they worked together, it improved their ability to cooperate, organize and create synergy.
- The staff helped increase excitement by creating a friendly competition between two big groups. We all tried to do our best to pack the maximum numbers of meals. Cooperative competition led to the path of doing maximum good and happy faces.
7. That day volunteers packed 17,796 servings. yeh!!! We all felt so good.
Did you think packing frozen food early on your day off in the cold environment could be fun and meaningful? I didn’t until I volunteered. When you give service, the inner satisfaction you get is indescribable. It is an act of gratitude for your blessings that you share with fellow human beings.
Find the joy by giving in this giving season and every season.
So what can you do to find happiness and meaning in your life? If you already volunteer, continue, if not, find a cause that you feel passionate about and participate. For even more fun and excitement, see if you can participate in a community group.
If you don’t, life may feel like a routine of doing things that you feel you have to do. If you sprinkle your life with simple acts of service like this, it will give your life more meaning and satisfaction. Service is one of the seven happiness habits in Stress to Joy™ program. You can read more in the book Stress to Joy.
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