Friday, June 1, 2012
God’s Pantry spotlight: Heaven Penney volunteers to live up to personal pledge
By Heaven Penney
God’s Pantry volunteer
When I was younger, my mom went through Habitat for Humanity to receive an affordable home for our family. As part of Habitat’s homeownership workshops, each family was able to attend cooking classes at God’s Pantry Food Bank.
The classes, held at the food bank’s headquarters in Lexington, opened my eyes to the necessity of providing food, information, and services to families who are in need of help. Further, during the orientation for the classes, I learned that there were many people in America that could not always afford food and that God’s Pantry helped fill an important gap in our society.
After the cooking class, my mom registered my brother and I to volunteer and I had more fun serving my community than I can ever remember having. My love affair with God’s Pantry had started.
I am currently a junior at the University of Kentucky and am working toward receiving a dual degree in elementary education and social work. During the spring semester, my social work professors required students to complete 30 hours of community service in preparation for a written and oral presentation. Remembering how much fun I had as a young girl, I knew God’s Pantry was the perfect fit for me.
While others complained about their volunteer requirements, I coasted through mine and even invited other students to join me in volunteering. Even after I completed the class, I felt a need to continue volunteering at God’s Pantry. If I miss even a week of volunteering, I feel as if I am not living up to my personal pledge of playing an active role in helping the community.
My work at God’s Pantry has humbled me. I am a student – one of a group within our society that faces hunger on a regular basis. Therefore, I know that hunger can hit anyone at anytime. Volunteering has made me a more compassionate person and has also showed me that community is essential to helping others. When a community comes together, things can get done. Aside from knowing my actions are helping a family in need, I love meeting different people every time I volunteer. I also find great encouragement in seeing the many different individuals and groups that volunteer.
Getting involved in volunteering helps not only those in need, it also gives individuals purpose within the community. Volunteering only once at God’s Pantry Food Bank helps change one’s outlook on the world.
I was recently asked to be a volunteer team leader when the renovation of God’s Pantry’s new volunteer workspace is complete. This role is an exciting thing to be a part of. I am going to be in a position to share my love of volunteering with others and I’ll be combining what I learn in education with what I learn in social work by teaching individuals how to help others.
From God’s Pantry