The Largest Table is one of St. John’s most significant missions of outreach and service. Every Wednesday, a committed group of volunteers feeds 200 in-need individuals and families a hot, home-cooked meal, in community with other guests from downtown Columbus – and they’ve been doing this faithfully for more than 10 years. The Wednesday volunteers are a diverse group – including lifelong members of St. John’s church, active retirees, local church youth groups, school groups, as well as people from other businesses and organizations. Should you choose to join them, you will be welcomed.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a day volunteering with this group. After they took one look at me they assigned me far away from the kitchen. And, since no personality assessment was performed, they asked me to be a greeter. Figures… shy, soft-spoken guy gets to be a greeter.
Fortunately, I had excellent examples to follow. Bill greeted the first person who came to the door as if he was an invited guest for Thanksgiving Day dinner at his home. Mike couldn’t wait for them to make it through the doors, so he went outside to offer the first heartfelt smile and welcome. That made me third in line, so I probably could have gotten away by offering a simple “welcome.” I’m so glad I didn’t allow the bar to be set so low.
“Great to see you.”
“I’m so glad you made it.”
“Any trouble getting here?”
Honestly, I regretted asking that last question as soon as I asked it. The gentleman I asked had experienced some trouble… with the Steelers playing poorly as of late… phew! I could relate.
As the guests wrapped up their lunches, they shook my hand, bumped my fist and patted me on the back before they wished me well and went on their way.
I wrote this post for one reason. It was not to call attention to my “ selfless act” of volunteering. Honestly, I needed to volunteer more than they needed me to volunteer. There was nothing “selfless” about it. In my experience, the need they filled in me was much larger than the need I filled for them. It’s as if they were sharing the opportunity rather than me providing any required help. Perhaps volunteering will also fill a great need in you.
If you would like to have a great day, St. John’s will share the opportunity to do so with you. Join them. You will be welcomed. Email Marla and let her know you’re coming – firstname.lastname@example.org