After seeing Maya Angelou speak back in my college days, I count her as one of the truly wise and empowering individuals in this world. She has been known to say many powerful things and among them is “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” What made me think of this quote came from listening to an applicant at the Jefferson County human services. “Thank you for helping me and listening to me” she said after she had been helped by a volunteer. Day in and day out, our volunteers listen to stories across four different counties in the Denver Metro Area. These are stories of struggle, stories of hitting rock bottom, and eventually stories of hunger.
Out of the 64.5 million volunteers in America, we have 14 of them. Fourteen big hearted individuals that listen to stories every day. At the human service buildings where these volunteers dedicate their time, they learn to help applicants navigate the complex benefits system. Though the application system is streamlined, they know that every story is reflected differently on the application.
These volunteers also have striking stories. A few volunteers are college aged and are using this opportunity as a career development tool. A few volunteers are between jobs and can’t sit still. A few other volunteers are retired and have a core belief rooted in the benefits of volunteering. Each volunteer brings a fresh perspective to the field and a new way of helping those in need. In the upcoming months, we’ll highlight some of these stories from the volunteers and the stories they encounter. Stay tuned!
Hannah Rogers is an Americorps Vista in Hunger Free Colorado’s Food Assistance Department.