This hashtag has been making the rounds.
Our staff has been using it to earmark news articles or gifts or volunteers or donors who have chosen to give their time, talents, treasure, and more to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ to the hungry, homeless, and hurting in Greater Grand Rapids. You may have seen it on social media here or here.
One story of #compassiondemonstrated is outlined below. Jill is a regular volunteer at Mel Trotter Ministries’ Food Pantry. Her story – and the reason she chooses to volunteer at the Mission – is told below. We are so grateful for her work and her commitment to Mel Trotter’s mission.
I started volunteering with Mel Trotter Ministries in November 2013. My husband and a few friends of ours decided to volunteer at the Great Thanksgiving Banquet as part of the clean-up crew. I had thought about being a part of something this big for quite awhile, so it felt amazing to actually do it. Two months later – on what was probably the coldest January day ever – my friend Kathy and I went down to the Mission to learn about other volunteer opportunities. Tiffany, Mel Trotter Ministries’ volunteer coordinator at the time, greeted us and introduced us to several ways we could help demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ to the hungry, homeless, and hurting. The volunteer opportunity we chose to pursue was in the Food Pantry, where we would walk families in need through the pantry to shop for food items. Here’s why:
- I had the time. My kids were grown, and I had no other obligations. It was the perfect time to give back.
- I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the individuals and families that know Mel Trotter Ministries as a vital resource for their health and well being.
- I loved the mission and ministry of this more than 100-year-old organization and its work to provide for countless members of our neighborhood.
After a few months of serving 2-3 days a week at the Food Pantry, I was asked to become the Pantry’s Volunteer Administrator. I gratefully accepted and now work alongside Dan, the pantry coordinator, to ensure all things Pantry-related run smoothly. I also connect new volunteers to our team (Interested? Click here.).
There was a time in my life when I was very ill, very tired, and very often bedridden. I am grateful for my health now and the opportunity to volunteer with an organization that creates a new, good kind of fatigue in me. I don’t take it for granted. God has used this place to meet a huge need in my life. I am overwhelmed by the love and grace – in action – in this place. It is so visible in the grateful faces of those who are a part of the Mission’s program. People leave Mel Trotter well-prepared to become productive citizens in our community. It is not just a hand out, it is hand up. It is literally changing lives.
I’ve served in several capacities during the course of my life, but it wasn’t until recently that my vision of serving was changed, renewed, and made better. I read Interrupted, written by Jen Hatmaker, and began to understand that we can’t just “do church.” Instead, we must “be the church.” And that means getting to know the real Jesus and serving as He served. It might be challenging or uncomfortable or painful. It might be different. It might even mean getting dirty. But I hope you’re inspired to give back. I hope you’re inspired to help others give back. I hope you’re inspired to partner with an organization – like Mel Trotter – that is already doing the Lord’s work. And most importantly, I hope you understand that a willing heart is all you need to make a huge impact. We all have a gift we can offer to someone else.
Thanks to the many volunteers and donors and staff members at the Mission, the work continues. At the stores, at the clinics, at the pantry, and in the kitchen. It is good work, and we do it because:
‘Cause it’s for You, by You, those who
love You wanna do something so big
it’s destined to fail without You, Lord
it’s gonna fail without You, Lord
Something so great
it takes a miracle to do
We, Your children
wanna do something big for You.
[Listen to the full song by John Waller here].
The work and the mission of Mel Trotter Ministries is great. I am honored to serve the people and the place in capacity I do. All for you, Lord. All for you. I wanna do something big for You. This is #compassiondemonstrated.