It was little more than a year ago that Brenda Mason and her fellow members of the Lady Orchid Assembly #44, a community service organization, arrived for a morning of volunteer service in the Crisis Ministry’s pantry on East Hanover Street.
She and her fellow Lady Orchid volunteers liked what they saw, and Brenda soon began volunteering with the Crisis Ministry once a week. Still, she wanted to do more.
Now her warm smile and her friendly “Hello!” greet clients, staff, and fellow volunteers almost daily at the pantry.
For someone who refers to herself on her calling card as a Retired Diva, Brenda Mason certainly works hard. In fact, Brenda contributed the most volunteer hours in our East Hanover Street location for July 2016! “It’s hard to see someone in need of essentials and not do something about it,” she says.
Most days, Brenda assists clients coming to the pantry with the intake process: “I do what I can where I’m needed, but I enjoy intake the most because I get to interact more deeply with people and maybe brighten their day.”
Working in intake can be difficult at times, she notes, especially if a client doesn’t have the proof of identity and residency necessary to shop in the pantry. Brenda is glad she can turn to Crisis Ministry staff member Seth Arber, who oversees the East Hanover Street pantry and helps people get their paperwork in order or request new IDs if they have lost theirs, so they can come back for the food they need as soon as possible.
“Everyone here is doing as much as they can to help people in need,” Brenda says. “They treat people like equals and don’t talk down to people. I don’t think anyone who really needs help should feel like they’re begging for it. A positive tone can change someone’s day.”
When asked what keeps her coming back to volunteer each day, Brenda replies simply that it is “the joy it puts in my heart to help. Each day, I have a choice to sit home and do nothing, or go and do something to assist somebody. Sitting home, I’m harming myself. This helps me to be more active, not just for the community, but for me also. I feel blessed to be able to work here.”
We couldn’t be more grateful to have her on our volunteer roster.