Serve to be a better servant

Well, in this article I will tell you about the joy I had when I started my volunteer work here in Israel.

I hope that one day everyone will be doing some volunteer work in the world. This would have great benefits for humanity: we would be more supportive, charitable to each other and loving to everyone.

The actions carried out by the volunteer work, more than solidarity works, are acts of social inclusion and citizen education. Through volunteering, which does not require complex actions or of great repercussion, but simple and efficient acts, any person who makes herself available to others, has the ability to develop a task and can promote social inclusion.

In addition to social importance, experience and personal satisfaction, volunteer work also makes us recover values (gratitude) that are sometimes lost in our society.

I started working as a volunteer when I was still a 12 year old teenager, my aunt taught catechism in a parish on the suburbs of my city, and had children who had difficulties with writing, so she would take these children to our house and help them write better, I was always around to help, she used to say that I was the secretary.

So, I grew up with a gratuitous desire to help for free, no matter what kind of work it was but to be available to do it.

And many other jobs came after that, and when I came to the novitiate, I felt the need to do something, but because of the conditions and planning for my canonical year it was not yet possible.

Until one day Sister Juliana told me about this possibility of doing volunteer work here, I was amazed and very happy! But I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know anyone other than the convent, I didn’t know what I could do to help, and I still had a question about the language, I don’t speak the local language and my English is simple.

So, I started my first volunteer work here in Israel on September 5, 2019. I was anxious, it was Thursday I woke up and I kept wondering what the place would be like, the people, the work etc…. Who provided this service was Sister Waffe, who has been working there the longest.  We scheduled to meet at the central station to go together. I arrived almost an hour earlier; I was really looking forward to it. When we got there, it was a restaurant for needy people, it is organized by a Rabbi, and Jews, Arabs and now me Brazilian work there. My service is to put a table, serve the juice and fruits, help serve lunch and collaborate with the cleaning of the environment. The people they frequent come from all over the world and all languages, young people, adults, men and women in situation of poverty, come for this delicious meal.

The place is not very big, it is basically home to 60 people, the kitchen is small and has bathrooms and a hallway with a sink to wash hands. On normal days about 50 to 60 people pass through there for lunch, but on special dates this number doubles, because along with the food there is always something more. For example, one week before the Jewish New Year, they gave out food baskets. The menu is varied, there are several types of hot foods and a salad. It’s been a very good experience and I’m feeling good about it.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25: 35-36)

Novice Erika NDS