No dinner at home tonight. Went out with the girls and my good friend RF. We were out most of the day today on the coast. First volunteering, then enjoying the beauty of our California coast and tidepools on this balmy January day.
We went at 11:00 to Half Moon Bay to a senior center to volunteer for the day of service that Barack Obama called for in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. We signed up, via www.usaservice.org, to do gardening for low-income seniors and had a phenominal experience. The woman who organized the group of volunteers was exceptionally organized and competent. All of her communications to the volunteers were complete, well written, and we all knew when and where to arrive.
L, J & I helped 2 different women with largely the same chores. They each lived in a small 1 bedroom apartment with a garden in the back. The senior facility (which I would imagine is subsidized living) is having its annual inspection by federal inspectors this week. So, we were doing some basic maintenance, such as cleaning windows and weeding gardens, but there were other chores, such as heavy lifting, major tree pruning, fixing televisions, and etc., that the 20+ volunteers were asked to do. Both elderly women were so appreciative and so welcoming to us. They couldn’t have been kinder. I think the girls really felt like they made a difference today and certainly understood the meaning of what we were doing and why.
My cookies went uneaten by the seniors that we helped because they were both diabetic! Still, we brought them in for the volunteers to enjoy.
I hope that we continue to utilize www.usaservice.org and that it, and similar organizations, become part of the mainstay of a broad spectrum of Americans’ lives. I feel like we are at a crossroads as a country and we need to work together to be whole again. It is the first time, in a long time, that I have felt inspired to act, not just obligated to act, and that I have been willing to step into an unknown, knowing that it is the right thing to do.
I also truly appreciate the people who have made service a part of their lives, like the woman who planned the event today, and the sacrifice they make to help others. There are a lot of those people, and they ask for no thanks. Today, there were people who made this a one-time experience, and many, many others who go to this senior center every Monday to hand out boxes of food from Second Harvest food bank.
It was an extraordinary experience. One that I hope to do many times again. One that I hope continues to inspire me to begin to make a difference in other people’s lives. I look forward to tomorrow and the beginning of the new administration. I know our country has a rough road ahead and will make wrong turns. Nonetheless, I am truly happy there will be a new driver at the wheel.