I had the incredible privilege of volunteering with Samaritan’s Purse, helping families in Merritt who are unable to live in their homes since the flooding of the Coldwater River.
I want others to also help. Here’s why:
1. They need you. The amount of work to be done is massive. I overheard one homeowner say, “Even if you can push a broom for two minutes, that helps.” There is work available for all levels of strength and endurance.
2. You need this. Studies show that mental health improves considerably when serving others. The phenomenon has been called the “Helper’s High.”
Volunteers describe a decrease in anxiety/depression, a prolonged sense of calmness and a greater sense of self-worth. I can attest to this. I spent a day working with a small team, meeting homeowners, hearing their stories, doing our best to lift heavy couches and heavy hearts, praying for them (if they’re open to that) and doing something practical to ease the burden of others.
Here’s what I took a day off from: eyes inward, reading headlines, wrestling with worry, feeling powerless to make change, cleaning my own house and planning my own family’s Christmas.
Here’s what I came home with: arms extended, joy, a sense of purpose, a sense of connectedness, an increased alertness as to how this Christmas season will look for other families, an awareness of what I can do to help and a few sore muscles.
I encourage all to start this season of giving with a donation of their time to our neighbours in Merritt.
For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, go online to samaritanspurse.ca/BCvolunteer.