Aesop said; "Act as if what you do makes a difference...it does.”
There is no feeling quite like the feeling you get when you help someone else. When you give of your time, you are giving your most precious resource to another who needs it. I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but at some point last weekend I achieved “Volunesia;” that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours.
You see, last weekend my 3 boys (ages 11, 8, and 4) and I spent a few hours helping out at the NuDay Syria facility. While I assembled empty boxes, my 4 year old carried them to the donation area where my 8 year old was waiting with a lot of clothes to fill them and a marker to label the boxes. The 11 year old stood guard at the entrance to the shipping container ready to check off the type of donation to be sent to waiting families. "Women's clothing, diapers, infant's clothing," would be called out by NuDay Syria's tireless leader Nadia Alawa. "Got it, got it, got it," would be acknowledged by my kiddo.
NuDay Syria, located in Derry, offers a unique volunteer opportunity for adults and children alike. Whether you want to donate gently used household items from clothing to furniture, purchase toiletries and school supplies, or help place donations into boxes, there is something for everyone to do. It is exciting to finally find a way to get back into volunteering and have my kids learn the value of being a part of something much bigger than themselves.
In our consumer culture where entitlement reigns and basic needs are largely taken for granted, it is necessary to remind ourselves, and teach our children, that we are privileged. Simply by being in this state, we enjoy things that others have had taken from them through no fault of their own. We are able to do something about it, though. It is that empowering thought, that feeling from knowing you truly can make a difference, that plants the seed of volunteering, which endures for a lifetime.
Speaking of culture, there is plenty at container loading days. From Muslim robes and Indian scarves and saris, directions in English and Arabic on the walls, to incredible Syrian food and melodious languages, the experience is far more immersive than a typical volunteer occurrence. I have met people from Canada, Syria, Lebanon, and Texas who have all come together to help people they will most likely never meet. Regardless of (or perhaps because of) what we wear, what languages we speak, and what we make for breakfast, we are all united in the cause to help someone who needs us right now. Not because they will ever return the favor, but because compassion can change the world.
NuDay Syria is a non-profit organization focused on bringing humanitarian aid inside Syria and to help displaced Syrians in the bordering areas around Syria. They focus on bringing housing and food to displaced families with single mothers or wounded family members. Please join us at future container loading days. We’ll be the busy family of 3 boys with the smiles on our faces and markers in our pockets.
Donations are always accepted. Learn more at NuDay Syria.
By Kitty Michelotti