Editor’s note: This week’s series about volunteering is to spotlight the Spring into Action events on March 24th hosted by Heifer International. Read why these volunteers have dedicated their time in helping share Heifer’s mission of ending hunger and poverty while caring for the earth.
By Sandi Watson, Heifer Volunteer
Why I first volunteered
Heifer immediately made sense to me. Train people, give them animals, ask them to share – soon families are self-reliant and able to help others. Sustainable transformation? Sign me up.
Why I still volunteer
All the people I’ve met through Heifer amaze me. Teachers, grade school kids, high school and college students, moms, dads, senior citizens, pastors, Sunday School teachers, my fellow volunteers, Heifer staff, farmers in Peru – you can’t measure the energy, time, creativity, and compassion that all these people put into helping others.
I once visited a small church in Bradford that raised $1,600 for Heifer-Haiti by hosting five spaghetti dinners. Imagine this: A small group of women willing to shop for the ingredients, cook dinner for 100 people, and then wash giant pots and pans late into the evening after each meal, all to help people they’ll never meet.
When I asked second grade students in East Gloucester why they raised money for Heifer, one kid said: “So people won’t be depressed. We want them to be happy.” A second grader! He blew my mind.
A college student in Lynnfield had a dying Ford Taurus. He could have junked the car and kept the money – money any college student could use, for sure – but instead he decided to hold a Car Smash and donate the proceeds to Heifer. Who does that? A young man who grew up in a congregation dedicated to Heifer. A young man who wants to make a difference.
On a Heifer-Peru study tour, we witnessed a Passing on the Gift ceremony in Acopía. In the months before that day, farmers had walked long miles to train other farmers, to share lessons in animal care techniques, organic farming, community development, and more. On the day of the ceremony, each family brought six sheep to give away. Six sheep! We were surrounded by confetti, music, sheep, and smiling people. You could see the joy and dignity of Heifer in that day.
I like my job as an editor but it doesn’t make my heart beat faster.
Heiferizing does. Whether the group is new to Heifer or filled with long-time supporters, I can’t stop smiling after we share Heifer time. I get to be one of the links! I get to help connect Heifer project communities working to change their lives with communities here on the North Shore who want to make that possible. It feels amazing and I am deeply grateful.
Sandi Watson, AVC Heifer Boston-North