Author: Catholic Charities Published:
Volunteering wasn’t an activity that Vicky Grow had in the plans for her retirement. However, when her husband asked for her to help him volunteer at Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, she jumped at the chance.
“We discovered he needed open heart surgery, so he asked me to come along to help. If he wasn’t able to keep up, I would fill in for him. Well, I came and filled in to help him out and I just took over,” Vicky said.
The joy Vicky feels in serving the clients of the food pantry keeps her coming back at least twice a week.
“The people that come in here, they’re so grateful, and they give me more than I (give to) them because they thank you for listening and they thank you for the food,” she says.
Though some days present challenges, Vicky connects deeply with her volunteer work. She feels a humble reminder of her personal blessings each time she volunteers, engaging with clients from all walks of life, each with a different story behind their need.
“I wish everyone had an opportunity to be here and we would all understand the great need for others, not just to fill their baskets with the food, but just somebody that’ll listen,” she says. “You can’t fix any of their problems but it means so much to them just to listen.”
And listen she does. As Vicky describes a client whose son was murdered, her eyes fill with tears. “All I can do is hug her,” she says quietly. “Every month she comes in and I make sure I get her. She updates me on how she’s doing… I just let that woman talk. She trusted me with that story.”
Vicky’s passion for helping others shines as she credits her desire to help to the Lord. “He qualifies those He calls. I was not qualified, but He qualified me,’’ she says. “If you keep it in mind, it’s His pantry. He’s sending these people… for me to learn something from them, and to give myself to them.”