It Takes a Village: Lessons on Volunteering from a Retired Educator
Christine (Chris) Dziczek is a retired New Jersey Regional High School educator who taught Health and Physical Education and directed the athletic program for 37 years. Here is Chris’s story about why giving back is important, in her own words:
I’ve always been a people person and I needed to fill a void in my life after I retired. I knew I wanted to volunteer now that I had the time, but wasn’t quite sure where to start. Each Thanksgiving, my nephew and his wife always talked about WMMR’s Preston and Steve Camp Out for Hunger which benefits Philabundance. This inspired me to go to the website, click on “Volunteer,” and the rest, as they say, is history.
I showed up for my first Fresh For All shift on a Wednesday morning. Nervous, I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what to do; but the other volunteers were so accepting and friendly, the Philabundance staff was welcoming and residents were grateful. Within the first five minutes, I knew this is where I belonged.
It’s difficult to put into words what it means to volunteer. I truly believe “it takes a village” and we are all responsible for each other in some way. When I watch the news and see all the hatred and suffering in the world, I know I cannot “fix” the world. But I can make a difference in some small way, in one corner of the world, in one person’s day. That’s what volunteering with Philabundance means to me. I see the good this program does for people. I see and hear how grateful people are and I know my kindness – our kindness – comes back to me tenfold.
I don’t have the means to end hunger, but I have the ability to smile, to make people laugh and, for a couple of hours, warm some hearts. The payback is overwhelming! Thank you for the opportunity to make a difference!
Chris’s school knows how much she loves helping Philabundance so, upon her retirement, they took a collection and generously donated enough funds to provide 5,000 meals to our hungry neighbors in need!