Ask Not What You Can Do For Yourself,

But What You Can Do for Others

Over the past couple of weeks as the COVID-19 crisis has hit our communities, we witnessed a couple of acts of true kindness.  We would like to share them with you as a reminder that we are a compassionate, caring community.

What A Way To Celebrate!

By Barbara Stewart and Marnell Kent-Blason

Bachelor-Party-GroupThomas is getting married in May and, like most grooms-to-be, he planned a bachelor party weekend before tying the knot.  Unlike most bachelors, however, he wanted to include giving back to the community as part of his weekend celebration.  With a quick search of the Internet, Thomas located the Volunteer Network OC app and found a volunteer event.  Thomas and his eight friends downloaded our app and signed up to help at Loaves and Fishes on Saturday morning, February 29, 2020.  Thomas and his friends from elementary school, high school, college, and work, could have gone to Las Vegas, Thomas explained, and partied there, but they wanted instead to give back.  And give back they did, helping set up tables, carrying bags of clothing, unpacking and putting out spaghetti, canned corn, salad dressing and baked goods, bagging apples, onions, broccoli, and bananas, and greeting and distributing food to the 200 or more individuals and families who came through the parish hall at St. Joseph’s Church in Santa Ana.

The young man in the front row, second from the left is Thomas. The gentlemen surrounding him are his friends, all spending part of the weekend helping Thomas celebrate. They chose to serve others before going to a nice lunch, an adventure in a panic room, and staying at a beach city Air B-N-B. They shared their story with the other volunteers and soon everyone was excited.

Not to overdo it – but they all worked very hard and provided a youthful cheer to the volunteer experience.  They positively affected both the guests and the other volunteers that day.

Thank you, Thomas and friends

What A Way to Give!

By William Cates

Last week, at Volunteer Network OC, we met Orlando, Brent and Pastor Jordan through Qoheleth (phonetically, ko-heh’-leth) Ministries.  Brent downloaded the Volunteer Network OC app and immediately uploaded several volunteer events.  The first event, held Saturday morning, was Feed The Hungry, which is a free food program for seniors, singles, and low income families in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  Qoheleth Ministries distributes over 40,000 pounds of food and around 2000 people are fed, clothed and assisted every month.

As the COVID-19 threat hit home last week, we saw lines of people hoarding supplies, fights at a Costco, and many other acts of self-preservation and self-focus.  People were also avoiding public places in fear of contracting the virus.

Saturday’s event was held in the parking lot of Newport Mesa Church, and we had to wonder if anyone would show up to Feed the Hungry.  I showed up at 7:30 AM Saturday and soon learned there are many people who, even during this period of uncertainty and anxiety, will put others first.  There were over three dozen volunteers setting up tables, sorting food, and handing out bags of groceries and baked goods to our neighbors who need some assistance to survive.  Also, remarkably, I did not hear a single volunteer express any concern for their own health or welfare.  It was truly a warm, giving experience.

We look forward to working with Qoheleth Ministries for many years to come.