By Father Christopher Kubat
Recently at an ethics committee meeting at one of the Catholic hospitals in the diocese of Lincoln, I had a conversation with one of the members who also supports our mission at Catholic Social Services and St. Gianna’s Women’s Homes.
After informing me that he will retire in two years, he expressed interest in becoming one of our volunteers. Usually someone in his shoes says something like, “After I retire I want to do some traveling… and after this I will think about getting involved in volunteering … maybe.” Not so with this man. He said he will be “all in.” I admire his determination. He does not want to retire and ‘rust out.’
We celebrated our 20th Bountiful Harvest Banquet in Hastings Sept. 30, at which we presented the Caritas Christi award to Gerald and Jean Witte. They are longtime parishioners at St. John the Baptist Parish in Cambridge. In attendance was their pastor, Father Kenneth Wehrs, who gave our invocation for the evening; and Father Robert Barnhill, who gave them the award and talked about their lives. The Wittes are a wonderful couple who have done so much not only for us, but for their family, their parish, and the diocese.
During my presentation I was able to share with those who attended what was accomplished last year because of the love of our supporters. I reported that last year, 192 volunteers in greater Hastings area assisted us in our mission of loving Jesus who lives in the poor and needy. Together they supplied 9,274 hours—a value to the agency of $86,237.
As for our agency as a whole, last year we had a total of 590 volunteers across the diocese who donated nearly 45,000 hours. This translates to $538,000 of value to the agency. Simply put, we could not accomplish all we do without the help of our volunteers. For that we are most grateful and only in eternity will God the Father reward them for their love of Jesus Who lives in the poor and needy in a special way (Mt 25:31-46).
Our volunteers do many things. The list of tasks include answering phones; clerical work; working in our food pantry; helping in our two sack lunch programs; working in one of our four thrift stores; helping in one of our warehouses; helping in our recycling effort; and much more.
For those who follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you will find much joy in serving Jesus in this way. It does not matter how old you are. The ages of our volunteers range from the teenage years to the 90s.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to again thank our many volunteers; you are in our special prayers!