[volunteering 2.0]


On Sunday night, with a few ideas in mind but still without any real conviction on a particular cause, I browsed volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch.org. There were a few things that looked interesting, but when I read the details, I found out that they were only available during the week, during work hours. Awesome. I began to wonder if there were any opportunities tailored toward young professionals. Immediately afterward, I ran across this advertisement: “Do you want to meet young professionals in your area and help with some casual volunteering opportunities? BEAN is the group for just that. We plan our volunteering events along with fun social/networking opportunities. Come join in on the fun that makes a big difference!”
Holy crap! It was as if God heard my thoughts and said, “As a matter of fact, there are opportunities tailored toward young professionals, Sarah. Here ya go. Catch ya on the flip side.” Yes, Tampa chapter of BEAN, I do want to meet young professionals in my area and help with some casual volunteering opportunities. MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.

The website was one of those deals where you had to register in order to get any sort of helpful information. Luckily it was free, so I eagerly signed up, knowing I was this close to meeting young professionals in my area and helping with some casual volunteering opportunities. After everything was verified and I was an official member of the Tampa chapter of BEAN, I clicked on “Upcoming Events” and…

“There are no upcoming events at this time.”

AWWEEESSSOOOMMMEEEEE. Way to go, Tampa. First it was the opportunities that didn’t jive with my schedule; then it was a defunct chapter of a volunteer organization. Way to pee all over my attempts at trying to do some good in this world.

Aggravated, I continued to browse, and eventually ran across an ad from  Feeding America Tampa Bay, looking for volunteers for its warehouse. The work wasn’t very glamorous–sorting through food and putting together kids’ meals–but it had opportunities available on Saturdays. I sent out an email, and the next day was confirmed to work two Saturdays in August.

Interestingly enough, on Monday night my friend  Monica and I had an email conversation about discovering one’s passions and spiritual gifts. I told her I wasn’t sure exactly what my spiritual gifts were, and that I signed up to volunteer with Feeding America, hoping that would help me discover what causes I was passionate about. She flat-out asked me what causes got me fired up, and without skipping a beat, I told her animal rights (I cry like a baby whenever I see those ASPCA commercials–animals really are totally helpless if they are in a situation in which they are neglected or abused), homelessness and hunger (America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet we still have people with nowhere to live and nothing to eat).

As soon as I typed it out, I knew. I knew exactly what issues I wanted to find opportunities in which to serve. Feeding America Tampa Bay is the first step; hopefully it will be the first step of many.

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