You’ve probably heard us say how much we love our volunteers. It’s true. No matter how or when they serve, we are grateful for every person who makes our programs possible through the gift of their time and talents. But some volunteers stand out as they go above and beyond to serve those in need. Ruth-Ann is one of these volunteers for sure! When there’s an opportunity to show the love of Christ through service, she’s there. We asked Ruth-Ann a few questions about what volunteering means to her, and we’re excited to introduce you to her.
Q: Please introduce yourself
A: Hi there! I’m Ruth-Ann. I live here in wonderful Jacksonville, Florida, with my amazing son, my incredibly patient husband, and our crazy rescue cats. I am a junior at the University of Florida studying Criminology.
Q: What first prompted you to volunteer with The Salvation Army and what was the first thing you volunteered to do?
A: I have been a longtime supporter of The Salvation Army thrift shop (the staple of my teenage wardrobe. Ha!) But I believe the first time I volunteered with The Salvation Army was at a gift-wrapping booth around 2009. That feels like a lifetime ago! Almost ten years, and a few paper cuts later, I have participated in the organization and distribution of Thanksgiving dinner at the downtown pantry, Angel Tree / Toy Shop, and my all-time personal favorite: being a bell ringer during the Red Kettle campaign.
Q: Have you had a moment or experience in your volunteer work with us that has been particularly rewarding or memorable?
A: I think my favorite memory is seeing children get so excited about contributing during the holidays. The joy they have in their eyes getting to place a penny in the kettle is something magical. It is so important for them to understand that we are called to help ALL and make disciples in this life. Loving others makes this world a better place.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to volunteer in your community? What would you say to someone who wants to volunteer but thinks they don’t have time?
A: We all have something to give; whether it is time, money or talents – we all have the opportunity to make a difference. You never know the impact you will have on another human and the world unless you step out and take the chance.
Q: In your view, how does The Salvation Army help the community?
A: The Salvation Army is there wherever you are. “Are” can mean many things…where you are mentally, physically, financially and spiritually. The Salvation Army is there to assist you and show you the love of Jesus Christ as you fight to live your very best life.
Q: What other local causes do you volunteer with?
As a survivor of sexual exploitation, I feel great joy being an advocate and mentor to others. I believe that my path in life was designed to bring hope and encouragement.
You can read more about Ruth-Ann at her blog http://www.sunshineandforgiveness.com.