The rewards of sharing with my community

In my short career as a reporter (just coming onto my first work anniversary at the Red Deer Express/Lacombe Express) I have come to learn about the literal hundreds of non-profit groups and volunteer opportunities in the area. I had no idea, even as a person who spent most of my life here, the amazing groups and organizations that are working to better Central Alberta.

I have slowly become part of a group that is not a non-profit organization, a faith-based gathering or any sort of registered society. We are the Line of Hope – Red Deer Style crew and we best describe ourselves as a group of friends trying to help where we can.

We don’t have a board, any administration or any other tie to each other than friendship or facebook. Each Sunday, a group of wonderful people gather at Potter’s Hands Ministries downtown where we provide a meal, some clothes and socialization for our City’s less fortunate.

A couple weeks ago I had a man approach me at one of the events and he almost brought tears to my eyes with his words. He was a ‘client’ of ours, and took the time to deliver some very kind words to our group.

He praised our group, thanked us and told us that we were making a difference. He told me that there were people in Red Deer who did not access programs and services such as Loaves & Fishes or Safe Harbour Society but who will come to our supper. He added that there are people who he saw interact with members of our group that he had never previously seen interact with anyone outside of their close circles. He continued to deliver praises in this fashion and made clear that we were making an impact. He said that we truly are giving people hope.

I am not near as involved in this group as some of the other members and my heart still swelled with pride and I was instantly humbled. Normally a loud, sociable person, I was silenced by this man’s gratefulness and appreciation for the work of those volunteers.

He shared these thoughts and praises with a couple of other members. We shared his comments on our facebook page, and I know that it brought joy to everyone who saw.

To have this gentleman take the time to let us know that he was appreciative really made me thankful I get to be a part of this group. Each week I see people who are being served jump to help clean up, or carry items out to cars after the dinner, or stop to say thanks to a member of our group.

This amazing group of men and women come from as far as Innisfail and Lacombe to contribute to the Central Alberta community. We don’t take donations and we don’t answer to a board. Our job is not to recommend programs or treatment or to share personal values and ideals.

There are other groups in Red Deer that offer those programs, and while they are valuable, they are not the goal of Line of Hope.

From the moment I arrive to the moment I leave each week, I am excited to learn about and contribute to our community. I have met some very kind people and have also gotten a glimpse of certain negative realities of our City.

I think that the most profound thing about this group is that it has taught me that there are so many good people in the world, and often times that is forgotten. I often hear that people don’t read or watch the news because things are so depressing. As a reporter, I cringe. As a person, I am determined to continue to spread the amazing things that people in our world do for each other, and believe that the Line of Hope should be known.

Thank you to each member, contributor, attendee and visitor so far. Let’s keep it up.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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