Our Red Apron Volunteers support every aspect of our mission and touch the lives of thousands of our neighbors each year. Some neighbors they know by name and hear their stories as they work hard to reach their own personal success; others they may only see a handful of times; some cry on their shoulders and some they high five in celebration of a new job. Since the pandemic more than 30% of these neighbors are finding themselves asking for help for the very first time. For many, asking for help can be a difficult decision and hard first step in getting back on your feet. No matter how Bluffton Self Help shifts to meet the growing needs of our community, one thing we continue to hear from clients is “I am so glad I walked through those doors and asked for help.”
Our volunteers are the ones who make all of this possible. The ones who ensure Bluffton Self Help is a place of non-judgement and always provides a client centered experience. They stock shelves, bag groceries, take the trash out, do office work, conduct interviews and teach workshops – all with smile on their face. After 8 years of volunteering Carl has hundreds of stories that are both heart warming and heart wrenching. These stories are the reason we do what we do. Here is one of those stories:
“Why I Volunteer”
As a volunteer during food distribution, I routinely assist clients by helping to carry their heavy groceries to their vehicles. Recently, I helped a well-dressed young lady and her baby with a generous assortment of substantial, healthful items; she had chosen intelligently. Upon reaching her vehicle, I could see it was a beautiful late-model SUV. As we stowed the bags of groceries into the back of the vehicle, the young mom turned to me with big tears in her eyes, put her head against my chest and cried hard as she tried to tell me how her family had exhausted all their resources and how Bluffton Self Help had provided emergency assistance in so many ways; that she would never have dreamed that her family would have to ask anyone for help.
I will never forget her sincere thanks for all that BSH did during this traumatic experience. I never saw this young mother again; I like to think that the boost that BSH gave this young family was enough to carry them through to better times.
– Carl Raichle