Let’s face it, Kitsap County is a tough place to love right now. With a pretty high crime rate comparatively in the US as counties go and none of our cities show up on the top 100 Most Livable Cities list it’s no wonder more people don’t want to invest their time, efforts and energy in what they might consider as a waste…
But let’s ponder, just for a moment, what it might look like if we were to spend a little bit of our resources on our community… Now, before you jump to conclusions, I want to tell you that I am not at all talking about any political party or religion… I am not talking about cultural differences…I am not talking about raising taxes to pay for this program or that… I am simply talking about something inherent in each of us… LOVE.
You can imagine what it used to be like when you ran out of sugar, and felt completely confident to run next door and borrow a cup from your neighbor… and if they weren’t at home, you likely have the kind of friendship where you would just walk in (because there is no reason to lock your door) and grab what you need. If you are like me, you would love to have that kind of relationship with your neighbor. And if you’re like me, you have been burned enough that you don’t want to reach out and ask, for fear of what you will be obligated to by that neighbor in the days or weeks to come.
…. But what if…. Not that we will ever get to the place where we leave our home unlocked. However, at the very least, we begin to trust our neighbors, building friendships that will become contagious within a community and touch more people than we could ever imagine along the way creating a different kind of love – a city to be loved. In a self-perpetuating cycle that can only grow in its expansiveness, and while doing so, actually affects the rates of crime, poverty and unhappiness within our borders.
Well, it has to start somewhere, right? And it is easy! Each of us has an opportunity to give in a way that will help some other person in our community feel loved… when that happens, they are motivated to do something that helps someone else feel loved, and there it is! The self-perpetuating cycle! We’ve all heard the term, “pay it forward”, right? The Starbucks coffee line where you buy the guy behind you a cup of coffee… I am not sure that can really be considered a pay it forward kind of thing, because the only person that’s really paying anything forward is the guy who paid for two cups of coffee – the guy at the front of the line. What I’m talking about is simple acts of giving – loving your neighbor, just like Jesus tells us to do. He says that whatever we do for the least of these, we are doing for him. (Matthew 25:40)
What am I talking about then? Think of ways that you can spend time doing what you might be gifted at, that can be turned around to benefit others… Here is a list of talents, along with a corresponding list of activities that might help someone else… and they won’t cost you a dime; however your investment will be in time.
If you are gifted at… You could bless someone by…. Organizations that could use your help
Accounting Volunteering to help with bookkeeping Most organizations - churches, small nonprofits
Cooking Bringing meals to the infirm or elderly Through your church, or neighborhood organization
Encouraging Mentoring or visiting patients Local school, retirement community or hospital
Engineering Building mock-ups or drawing plans Organizations that build in the community
Fitness Volunteering as a coach After school programs, peewee groups and elder care facilities
Health/ Medical Using your profession for the needy Missions organizations, local outreach organizations
Enlisting Others Building volunteer teams or raising funds EVERY nonprofit, school or organization who does outreach
Organizing Managing projects Civic organizations and missions based nonprofits
Planning Events planning Most organizations - churches, nonprofits of all sizes
Cooking Entertaining their kids/ family Hospitals, elder care facilities, after school programs, schools
You don’t have to have a lot of money to give back in the community! You don’t even have to have a lot of time! All of the above opportunities can be done from anywhere from the comfort of your own home to the farthest reaches of Timbuktu. But if you really want a city worth loving, you have to commit to serving your community in some way.
A great resource to find ways to volunteer in your community is: www.volunteermatch.org
Currently, Seeds of Grace can use someone on our team with any of those skills, and it would be such a blessing if you, as the reader, wanted to take a look at the opportunities we have. You can do so here: http://www.dreambigaskbold.org/teams/