Last year, 4802 people volunteered for GraceWorks.
They came once a week, once a month or one time with a group. They sorted clothes for the thrift store, stocked food pantry shelves, helped at events, did data entry, ran store cash registers, interviewed our neighbors seeking assistance and many, many other tasks.
GraceWorks could not exist without them. Our neighbors throughout Williamson County would go hungry, be evicted, have their utilities disconnected, not have school supplies or Christmas gifts without the thousands of people who volunteer their time and their hearts for a cause they believe in.
In total, volunteers served 75,672 hours last year, valued at $1.82 million at the federal value of volunteer work.
This is National Volunteer Week, and here, in their own words, are a few GraceWorks volunteers talking about why they do what they do.
Served 21 years
“I feel like my volunteering is doing some good for people. My life has been so good, I think this is a little payback for that.”
“Eight years ago, I moved here and was in a position of having no job and needing a lot of help. I came here, and they helped me and encouraged me. Now it’s my turn to give back. It’s my turn to help out. I’m in a good place now, but I couldn’t have done it without GraceWorks’ help and the encouragement they gave me.”
“I believe in this organization and what it stands for and what it does for the community for those who need it. We are supposed to take care of the needy, and that’s what they do. They don’t pretend to do something, but really do the job.”
“I do it for selfish reasons because I need to work on my humility and compassion. But in return for that conscious decision, this is fun. I have never spent a day here that I didn’t receive a blessing.”
“I love the Lord Jesus, and I care about our neighbors in need. I felt called to this ministry. I have great joy in coming here. I believe when we do what God has called us to do, He gives you great joy, and He has called us to care for the poor.”
“It’s very rewarding. The people who work here and volunteer here are all committed to helping the community and those less fortunate. I think that commitment comes through in the work we do and the quality of work we do.”
“It comes from Matthew 25:40 – where it says ‘whatever you do for the least of these.’ I’m certainly not a Bible scholar, but I remember that one. I think it’s a biblical principle that we’re supposed to help our fellow man in whatever that looks like. What it looks like for me and my wife is GraceWorks.”
“I like to help other people, and I think this is a good cause.”
“I’ve made a lot of friends here. I love it. Helping people makes me feel good. We give vouchers here, and sometimes we can give them something extra. A woman came in recently with a voucher for clothing. We saw her looking at the jewelry but jewelry wasn’t on the voucher. We told her that the clothing she had picked needed that jewelry to go with it and gave it to her. Being able to do that makes you feel good.”
“I started volunteering because I believed I had something to give. Then when I got started, I found that I was getting something back – friendships and working with people that I enjoyed. That’s why I keep coming back.”
“I leave here some days and go home and tell my wife that if I ever tell you that things are hard, I saw people today at the end of their rope. It gives you appreciation for what you have to see people who don’t have. I enjoy working with people here who are likeminded as me. They want to help people. GraceWorks is the real thing. Living in many places in my life, I’ve never been associated with a place like this.”
“I love to help people. It gives me fulfillment that I can make a difference in somebody’s life. I love the camaraderie around here too.”
—by Kathi McClure