I love to cook for people. I love the instant feedback, the ability to share that I care, and that look on people’s faces when they close their eyes and think “mmm, that’s good”. So it was natural that when I wanted to start volunteering with ICS, I combined one of my favorite things to do with volunteering – by cooking dinner monthly for the men in recovery!
My husband and I had done this for over a year back in 2017-2018, and I loved the feeling of making something nice that people would love – ribs, meatloaf, bratwurst. And I loved when I got my friends and family to come join us, and adding their faves – homemade mac and cheese, greens, bread from scratch. But more than that, I loved being able to get to know the guys, and for my friends to get to know them too. We got to be there from the first month that some men showed up, and were there when they moved into permanent housing. We were able to share conversations about how life can suck. We shared dreams, shared regrets, and looked to the future. I was able to understand life beyond my own, beyond the lives of my friends, and I am so grateful for that. I got to make a quilt for graduation, and when one of the guys picked it up to keep, it felt so awesome.
We took a hiatus for about a year after we got a kiddo. BUT! Last month, we started it up again. We brought some faves – ribs, greens and sausages, homemade bread, and a crumble… though that didn’t turn out super great. 🙂 This was the first time we got to meet a lot of the new guys in the program, so it was weird to go back to not knowing people as well as we once did – everyone had graduated since we last cooked! But I’m excited to keep going monthly so that we can get to know them, and they can get to know us and our kid.
I would highly encourage finding a way to volunteer at ICS. Think about something you love to do; you can share that with the guests at ICS! From cooking, to painting, to reading, to … whatever! You have a gift that someone would love for you to share with them. Talk with me, a board member, or our Executive Director to let us know you want to share your time or skills and we’ll make it happen!