By Nathanael Olsen, volunteer worker

There are many feelings when you volunteer, especially when it revolves around serving other people. Though I haven’t been volunteering at Phoenix Rescue Mission for long, I have had the privilege to watch, and learn, how a simple mindless task of handing someone a few bags of bread can go such a long way into making someone’s day. I have often thought how incredible it is to see how many people are helping behind the scenes to assist the community. You can tell just by interacting with other volunteers that they are truly honored and happy to give back just as I do. It appears so many people volunteer not for their own glory, but to learn something from it as well.

When volunteering with Phoenix Rescue Mission, I have seen firsthand there is a lot of good work being done in the organisation by full time and part time volunteers. Regardless of the length of time people volunteer, it’s been nice to see volunteers wanting to get to know their fellow volunteers. After a shift ends, for example, time is taken to eat some volunteer-designated food and talk for a while before we all depart. It’s a nice bonding time unlike what I’ve experienced through other volunteering opportunities.

Of course the most important part of Phoenix Rescue Mission are the clients we serve. I have had the opportunity to get to know a quite a few of them who come in regularly twice a month. It’s really awesome hearing some of their life updates! You hear cool stories such as how someone who had past alcohol addictions become sober, or another who had faced work issues all of a sudden get hired for a new job.

Life can be unpredictable. It can be easy to forget just how fast life can change from having a job and then being on the streets because you got laid off. At the time of this writing, the world is experiencing a unique humanitarian crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people are not only fearful of getting the virus itself, but losing their jobs as well. Post pandemic, it will take a lot of compassionate people to help society get back into a relatively normal state. Places like Phoenix Rescue Mission will need to continue to rely on compassionate people to volunteer of their time and money not only throughout this crisis, but beyond. I believe it’s in human nature for people want to help each other, so this drive will help society bounce back.

I myself have been super blessed by having such a great family around me wanting to succeed in anything that I do and because of that, I love helping others. It is a great way to show love. Phoenix Rescue Mission really does act on their mission. It not only wants people to volunteer to assist the less fortunate, but it provides opportunities for those people, in good place in life, gain something valuable through their interactions with clients and other volunteers. It has been my experience with Phoenix Rescue Mission that I believe every bit of volunteering can help – one bread at a time.