So you want to help fix the world?
Volunteering, a.k.a. Fixing the World
There is good news and bad news.
The bad news first: We can’t fix the world. It’s too big. We’re too small. And scaling short-term crisis methods of help to confront long-term systemic issues doesn’t actually solve the problems in front of us.
The good news: We can help in our corner of the world. And we can fix our corner of the world. We can do this in three main ways.
First, we help people in crisis. People in crisis need help, and they need it right now. We show them the love we have for all of our neighbors by giving them what they need: immediate aid.
Second, we help change the systemic nature of this downtrodden life. This is about changing personal and community habits, changing access to basic fundamentals of education, food, health, wellness, financial instruments, and the like. When everyone has equal access to what they need, everyone has a chance to flourish.
Third, we help change the world by changing ourselves. When we are present-minded, doing what we love, helping others, and working through our own pain, we shine a light which cannot be diminished, literally or figuratively. This is the Light of Christ, and it changes the world. Or, fixes it, if you like.
Helping Those In Crisis
Trinity has two outreach programs that help those in crisis, and both are feeding programs.
SnackPaks for Kids
The SnackPak program fills backpacks full of nutritious, balanced, and easy-to-make food for the weekends for kids in need. This is an ecumenical program housed at Trinity and co-led by Trinity Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church. It’s supported by Angel Action, and by nearly all the churches of the Warsaw Valley. We work closely with the administration of the elementary, middle, and high school to make the program a success. Eligibility is determined by the school and food is donated and packed up through the church.
SnackPaks is always recruiting for volunteers willing to help pack up bags, willing to solicit donations of food or money, and willing to help with ideas and administration. Membership in a church of Warsaw is not necessary for participation!
Pet Food Pantry
Trinity’s Pet Food Pantry was inspired by others in our region. Pets, whatever the species, provide irreplaceable emotional and physical support to their owners, and should not be only a privilege of the wealthy. When pet owners are going through hard times, the pets suffer too, and that is what Trinity seeks to help mitigate. The only one of its kind in Wyoming County, the Pet Food Pantry collects and disburses primarily dog and cat food.
The Pet Food Pantry is recruiting volunteers to help solicit support and donations from area businesses, as well as volunteers to help with the monthly disbursement of donations.
Changing the System
Trinity has a few outreach programs that help to change the system of this downtrodden life, primarily in increasing access in the areas of education and wellness.
Community Coffee Hour
Free coffee, once a month. Chit chat. A cookie or two. A newspaper circulating the room.
How is this changing the world, again?
Trinity’s Community Coffee Hour provides shut-ins, the elderly, and those without much opportunity for meaningful human interaction in their lives to get out and be sociable. It improves emotional wellness and mental stability, and it creates a new and supports existing social networks that help keep people from burnout, addiction, and suicide.
The organizers of the Coffee Hour are always on the lookout for people who would like to host and co-host the morning.
Little Book House Literacy Project
Children’s books, available 24/7 in a little library just outside our sanctuary. Free to take and keep, access to children’s literature is a key component in hooking kids on the love of reading, which in turn makes keeping the kids reading at-grade-level an easily accomplished task. And when kids continue to read at-grade-level and continue to love reading as they get older? Those kids graduate high school, and they go on to be successes in life, and do so easily. Kids who struggle with reading and don’t read at-grade-level are much less likely to graduate on time and find it harder to get jobs that pay a living wage.
Trinity is always accepting donations of new or gently used children’s books. The donation of a book or two can simply be put in the Little Book House. Boxes of donations can be left on Sunday mornings.
Trinity Church, itself
It takes a lot of people pitching in here and there to make Trinity Church run like a well-oiled machine that can then inspire others to live better lives, deal with their own stuff, and learn to live like Jesus taught: loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Behind the scenes work? Heavy lifting? Building maintenance? Kitchen organizing? Baking? Talking and organizing? Leading worship? Envisioning the future? Legislating at the local, regional, and national levels? We’ve got it all, and we’re happy to share.
Interpreting ancient texts and putting the wisdom in them into play in our everyday lives in order to be better, calmer, happier, healthier people is no small matter or beachside activity. (Unless you live by a beach. In which case everything you do is a beachside activity.) It takes good interpretations, emotional and spiritual wrestling, constant support, and a lifetime of practice. But it’s possible.
And we’re living proof.
And if we can do it, so can you.