Volunteering for Matthew 25 Ministries

On March 7th I volunteered for Matthew 25 Ministries. The work of Matthew 25 Ministries helps the poorest of the poor and disaster victims throughout the United States and around the world.

They accept monetary donations and product donations of misprinted, slightly damaged, over-stocked, or gently used supplies from corporations, organizations, and individuals nationwide. They also supplement outside donations by manufacturing, assembling, and blending products in-house including school notebooks, pencils, rice-soy meals, and paint.

With the help of their volunteers, these goods are processed at our over 200,000 square-foot Processing Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then shipped via forty-foot seagoing containers and by semi-trailers to the poorest of the poor and disaster victims.

Matthew 25 Ministries also provides humanitarian aid to the poorest of the poor and disaster victims by collecting product donations from corporations, organizations, and individuals. With the help of their volunteers, Matthew 25 evaluates, sorts, and processes these donated items before shipping them to people in need. These steps ensure that the products meet the social, legal, and cultural requirements of the area.

In order to reach as many people as possible, Matthew 25 Ministries partners with non-profit organizations in the recipient locations. Through these relationships we ensure that donated goods are shipped to places with true needs and distributed by people who are familiar with the area. Matthew 25 Ministries works with more than 40 organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area, groups throughout the United States, and partners in over 60 countries worldwide.

Even last year when the tornado hit Dayton, I volunteered for them. In disaster situations, time is a precious commodity, and implementing an effective disaster response is critical. Matthew 25 Ministries is constantly monitoring its readiness to meet the needs of a sudden disaster. This includes maintaining the facilities and resources needed, as well as being ready to engage disaster relief volunteers from the local community who want to help provide relief to the victims. In order to provide the most effective disaster response possible, supplies must be sorted prior to being shipped so that they are ready for immediate distribution.

Matthew 25 Ministries’ focus during disasters is typically on moving large amounts of critically needed aid into the affected area. When their Disaster Response Team deploys, they utilize a fleet of specialty vehicles to distribute initial loads of aid and set up distribution channels through partner organizations for future shipments.

 

Source: https://m25m.org

Pay It Forward: 21st Annual Community Commitment

On Saturday, August 24th, 2019 I attended Pay It Forward’s 21st Annual Community Commitment, one of the largest single-day community service events held on a college campus. I also attended this event last year (see the first post on my page) where I write about my experiences as a volunteer at an animal shelter.

This year our group was assigned to a place called “Little Acorn Children’s Garden”, which is a natural, interactive children’s garden designed to teach health, happiness, and hope for a brighter future. Families can visit to learn, weed, and garden together, and most importantly this is a free service to families. Additionally, the organization that allowed us to volunteer here was the “Patches of Light”. Their mission is to assist families with critically and terminally ill children so that they can remain together during their hospitalizations and treatments. Their funding is used to pay for past-due mortgages, rent, and utilities. They provide phone cards, gas cards, grocery cards, and parking tokens. Many parents do not even have the comfort of knowing whether they can make it to the hospital on a daily basis. Patches of Light assists with emergencies such as auto repairs, housing for long-distance care, airline tickets, supporting families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House, extermination and/or purification items for bone-marrow patients’ homes and much more. They have assisted families throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. They have also helped families from Africa, England, and Palestine.

What did our group do exactly to help? When we arrived at the scene, the whole garden looked pretty bad: There were weed and dead plants everywhere and as we learned most of the vegetables that grew in the garden got stolen. In no time, we transformed an abandoned-looking place into a nice-looking garden. We picked the rest of the ripe peppers, tomatoes, gourds, and eggplants and bagged them up. After that, we pulled all of the weeds out which just by itself made a huge difference. Another volunteer from a different group mowed the lawn, then we finally got rid of the dead plants finishing our job. Since we still had time to help with something, we emptied a barn, thoroughly cleaned it and reorganized it.

To be honest, I do not really like working in the garden, but it is always worth to help someone in need. Sadly, I do not think I will volunteer at this location again, since it is a 30-minute drive from campus, and I also do not have a car, which makes things more complicated.

 

Source: https://www.patchesoflight.org/about_us

ROTC Joint-Service Parade

On April 11, 2019, I volunteered at the ROTC Joint-Service Parade as an usher. But what is a Joint-Service Parade exactly? It is an event where members of Ohio State University’s ROTC programs march in uniform, salute and perform drill movements as part of an annual ceremonial presentation that dates back many years.

Why did I attend this ROTC event exactly? In one of my previous e-Portfolio articles, “The Forefront of Medicine: Life as an Army Physician” I wrote about how I got interested in ROTC, and why I considered joining one of the branches of the military, but back then I was not sure which one. After I wrote that post, I talked to a student who is in Air Force ROTC and is also in International Affairs at the same time. He then introduced me to the Air Force ROTC recruiting officer at Ohio State, so I could join at the start of the spring semester. Since I am a part of this program now, I decided that I wanted to volunteer at this awesome event, where all branches of Ohio State’s ROTC program participate.

The event took place on the Oval, and my job was basically to block one of the paths, so people don’t disturb the event by walking through the whole ceremony. Many would probably think that if someone sees at least a 100 people in military uniform performing a ceremony would go around the Oval for obvious reasons, but most people are just on their phone while walking and don’t realize what’s happening in front of their eyes. Every time this happened, I was the one who stopped that person and asked not to go through the ceremony.

I found it interesting that there is not much information about the parade on any of Ohio State’s ROTC websites, mostly those know about it who participate in this military program. Also, about 100 cadets participated in the event, which was hosted this year by the Air Force ROTC (it is hosted by a different branch every year).

Pay It Forward: 21st Annual Community Commitment

On Saturday, August 25th, 2018 I attended Pay It Forward’s 21st Annual Community Commitment, one of the largest single-day community service events held on a college campus.
First everyone was sent into a big hall where the groups were assigned, then I took a bus with my group to a cat shelter called “Cat Welfare”. I volunteered at an animal shelter called “Noé” in Hungary before, so I already had something to compare it to. I can definitely say that shelters in the United States are much better. In Hungary, the conditions for keeping animals are unacceptable: everything is dirty, the cages are small and dark, and a lot of times there is not enough food to feed every “resident”. In contrast, I have not been to a single animal shelter in America where I could find anything bad, but seeing how many cats end up in shelters breaks my heart. Shelters usually have to take care of hundreds of cats, and most of the time they do not have any space left to take in more animals. This is a big problem that could easily be solved if there was a strict limit on animal breeding.
I was excited when we got to Cat Welfare because I love cats, and I also missed my cat who I could not take with me to college. My cat was adopted from Pet Smart and later my family adopted a dog from another shelter. I already had two cats and two dogs before, but this was the first time they came from a shelter. If anyone is still debating whether adoption is a good option, I can only recommend it. The day we brought our cat home, we could see how happy she was to have a real home. I have the same experience with our dog: When we brought him home and took his collar off, he looked at us for a few seconds, then he started running inside the house and licked everyone who stood in his way. From these experiences, I would not think twice about adoption again.
At Cat Welfare, there were many rooms that served different purposes. There was one big room for the “social cats”, one smaller room for the “shy cats”, another for the kitties, one for the newcomers, and sadly a room for cats with cancer. I liked that we could interact with basically all of the cats, even the anti social ones.
My group was divided into sub groups and were assigned different tasks. My job was to unfold and place newspapers onto a shelf, another group had to trim trees, and the third group packed cat food. When we were done with our tasks, we could play with the cats all morning, but mostly we were asked to play with the “shy cats” so they get used to having people around. I tried to play with them, but it did not work out that well: One of them bit my finger so it started bleeding, but other than that I had a great time volunteering at Cat Welfare, and I would definitely do it again!