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August 3, 2012

Friends Helping Friends: Friends spend quality time together through volunteerism

Sheela Nayak and Beth Clark have found that volunteering together at Food & Friends is a wonderful way to form a deeper bond while making new friends. They began volunteering together in 2003 after Beth retired from her job and was looking for service activities during the week. Sheela had already been delivering meals at Food & Friends for the past two years so she asked Beth to join her on her route. They have been delivering ever since.

“Sharing the experience makes volunteering a lot more fun, and there is an energy that is absent when you work alone,” says Beth. “And, after the activity is over, you have shared memories, which make friendships stronger.”

Sheela echoes that sentiment, “Now, we can discuss other ideas –issues in life. There are no words to describe the togetherness.”

Their shared values on service and community have enhanced their volunteer experience and have strengthened their friendship. Neither of them realized how similar they were until they had this opportunity to spend time together.

“Prior to volunteering together, we were casual friends … but we never had the opportunity to really talk and get to know each other,” says Beth. “Our friendship really took off because of our shared interest in service.”

Beth’s favorite volunteer memory is when one of their clients gave them each a small gift after they dropped off his meals.

“After we left, I remember Sheela saying that this was obviously so important to him and commented on how happy he seemed to be able to give us a token of thanks,” says Beth. “I wonder to myself if I could be as gracious if I was in their place. I know I have learned a lot about looking on the bright side from our clients.”

Delivering meals has not only changed their friendship but gave them the opportunity to learn about the clients on a new level. “I have been a volunteer for many years, there is something about our clients that is very special – despite the hardships they are facing, they always greet us with a smile and a kind word…” says Beth.

Both Sheela and Beth are thankful for their experience with Food & Friends and enthusiastically recommend volunteering. “Volunteering for Food & Friends makes people feel like someone cares,” says Sheela. Beth responds, “I have always looked to volunteer where the need is greatest, and hope that by doing my small part, I might leave myself and the world just a little better.”

Looking for ways to get involved with friends? Consider adopting a delivery route. It is fun, easy to do and can fit into your schedule. Visit www.foodandfriends.org or contact Don Pitz for more information.



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