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The Aquilian

My take on what it means to serve

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Almost every Sunday my family and I spend time doing service at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bethesda, Md. https://adw.org/parishes/our-lady-of-lourdes/

Serving others is more beneficial to the benefactor than it is to the recipient. Throughout my life, I have served others in all different kinds of ways, and this has continued to be true. Although my sole purpose and intention of serving others is to benefit those in need of service, I have been able to reflect back on what that service has done for me. 

Recently, on every other Sunday, my family and I have helped run a charity that provides food for those in need. We collect meals from donors, make meals ourselves and distribute them. The work that we do there is successful as we feed over 30 people every time that we organize the event. The people who receive the food are always very grateful and show their appreciation by mentioning how greatly the meals and company benefit their lives. However, for them, this benefit only lasts for a short amount of time. In my life, service has taught me skills and helped me in ways that could last a lifetime. 

Through this one organization, I have been able to create schedules, properly communicate and accurately plan out events. I have also learned how to cook meals. Along with these minor skills, I have built relationships with others that help out, as well as many of the people that receive food every other Sunday. Putting a smile on the faces of the people and being able to crack jokes with them in light of all their hardships are some of the happiest feelings I have had. 

On top of that, I have never once asked questions like “is this enough food?”, “are we almost done?”, and “can I leave now?” because knowing that the work that I am doing is benefiting such nice and enjoyable people allows me to always be motivated. I look at service as a type of meditation because I can be relaxed and enjoy my time as I know that this time is very productive. 

As much as service means to me, Gonzaga takes the cake in the extraordinary acts  it has been able to accomplish in service. By having a homeless kitchen under St. Al’s and sending students all over the world to help communities, the school has made a significant positive impact on the world. Service is such an important aspect of life and it is Gonzaga’s mission to build that aspect and create a passion in every student that attends the school.

 “I do service because I truly care for and respect the Gonzaga Community and the community I live in, and I want to better it in any way I can,” said my brother Will Volz, senior. “My service trip to Camden and the Gonzaga community strengthened my feeling for it.”

Gonzaga first ignited the passion in him to do service for the community, and he has completed service for his own community ever since. Like me, Will works each Sunday night for the same non-profit. 

“The benefits of serving our community go way beyond providing food; what’s most important is the relationships that are made,” Will said.. 

Service impacts everyone involved in a positive way and Gonzaga has done an impressive job at providing that impact. According to Gonzaga’s website “over 20,000 hours are spent doing service by students either in their communities, nationally, or internationally.” The impact that Gonzaga has created has changed the world for the better, but this change spans for beyond just Gonzaga. 

According to AmeriCorps “an estimated 23.2 percent of Americans or more than 60.7 million people formally volunteered with organizations between 2020 and 2021, an estimated 4.1 billion hours.” 

Service is a national phenomenon that has impacted millions of Americans. I think that this service should be only looked at as a positive thing for all people, yet there is still a lot more work to be done. More than 42 million people still live in poverty in the United States alone, but that number is steadily increasing. I believe that service is one of the most productive ways people can benefit the world and themselves, so it is only right that the number of people that do it should increase.

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