For Volunteers, Helping Less Fortunate Very Fulfilling
WILKES-BARRE — Need and desire were what brought just about everyone there to St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen on East Jackson Street on Tuesday, but it wasn’t just the necessity of eating or a yearning for a hot meal on a cold day.
For some, it was a need to feel productive and useful. For at least one other, it was the desire to be a good role model.
This Christmas Day was Traci Goldberg’s first time at St. Vincent de Paul’s — or at any food service charity, for that matter. And she felt fortunate to be one of those serving the food rather than among the hundreds being served.
“There but for the grace of God go I,” Goldberg said when asked to put her feelings about her volunteer experience into words.
“Any little change in life can change your circumstances profoundly, so I’m thankful for what I have, said Goldberg, 47, a native of Kingston who lives in Virginia.
She, her husband, Eliot, and their sons, Samuel, 17, and Jaren, 14, traveled the hundreds of miles from their home to visit her parents for the holiday. All four of them volunteered at the kitchen on Tuesday.
And the desire that led Goldberg to spend several hours on that holiday helping others?
“I’ve got two teenage boys and I think being out here in the community is a good thing to do, to set an example for them about giving back,” she said.
Michael Cianciotta, project director at St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen, said volunteers prepared and delivered more than 700 Christmas dinners to elderly, disabled and needy people in the community and served another few hundred at the kitchen on Tuesday.
Working alongside Goldberg was Lee Wolfe, a nearly 12-year veteran volunteer at the kitchen.
“I came down to volunteer with my church, and then I continued coming down, said Wolfe, 81, of Bear Creek Twp. “After my husband passed away, it was something to keep me occupied.”
Wolfe described her time at the kitchen — every Tuesday and Thursday — as “an eye opener.”
“You don’t realize what other people are going through until you see what’s before you,” she said.
Her desire to stay busy and the satisfaction that comes with being helpful are her motivators.
After a few hours prepping and serving food, “I feel like I’ve done something for somebody else, Wolfe said. “And I’m thankful I’m on this side of the serving table.”
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