Meet 3 of Boston Cares Volunteer Leaders: Bill, Shawn and Charlie!
Around this time last year, Bill was in Puerto Rico volunteering with All Hands and Hearts. He was helping with disaster relief and worked on projects such as home repairs. He also went out to New Orleans after Hurricane Harvey with the Red Cross Disaster Services.
With over 1,000 hours of service, Bill enjoys giving back to the community. Bill has been with Boston Cares since 2003 and has been volunteering routinely since 2008. He enjoys volunteering with a few different projects, specifically, the Friday Night Supper Program where he is a Volunteer Leader. The Friday Night Supper Program provides warm, nutritious meals to Boston’s hungry, homeless and low-income population. Bill, along with other volunteers, help with dishwashing, serving guests, working in the clothing closet, busing tables, and cleaning the hall.
COVID-19 has unfortunately limited Bill’s ability to volunteer at the Friday Night Supper Program, but he has been able to help at the Boston Public Schools Food Distribution projects and Age Strong Commission. Some of Bill’s favorite events include helping at Corporate Bed Builds as a Boston Cares Corporate Project Leader and the Awards Ceremony.
When asked what he wished everyone knew about Boston Cares he responded, “Just get out there. The beauty of Boston Cares is that there are so many different volunteer opportunities, so try one, see if you like it, and then try out another opportunity.”
Shawn was volunteering independently at the New England Center and Home for Veterans when he first learned about Boston Cares in June 2018. He is now a Volunteer Leader at both the New England Center and Home for Veterans and Hale House where he led scrabble night and also volunteered regularly at the Jeremiah Program before COVID-19.
“Volunteering during COVID has been difficult but I’m eager to get back to those projects.” Shawn’s favorite part about Boston Cares is the social interaction. He says, “For the last 2.5 years, almost 3 years, that I have been a part of Boston Cares, I’ve met a lot of incredible volunteers and I’ve forged some really great friendships with staff members and volunteers. Especially now during the pandemic, I miss those projects even more now because social interactions are so far and few these days.”
Thinking back, Shawn’s favorite memory was Thanksgiving 2019 when the New England Center had a special project to serve Thanksgiving dinner where he was the Volunteer Leader. “It was a massive project because normally there are only 5 volunteers but for the Thanksgiving service they opened it up to 10 or 11 volunteers. And that’s one of my favorite things, just the amount of people who are willing to come and want to serve meals on Thanksgiving.”
Charlie, a Volunteer Leader at the East End House joined Boston Cares a year and a half ago. He loves the flexibility of being able to sign up for any project whenever it can fit into his schedule. Charlie found Boston Cares when he moved to Boston for school.
He now volunteers twice a week at East End House stocking the pantry and distributing food. He used to also volunteer as a tutor in Math and English at X-Cel Education.
His favorite part about volunteering is seeing the direct impact volunteering has on people. He notes about his projects at East End House – “seeing the people we are giving the food to is the most rewarding part.”
One thing Charlie thinks everyone should know about Boston Cares is, “it can be scary to get started but try new projects because everyone is so welcoming and that is the best part about the Boston Cares experience.”