It was a welcoming opportunity this week when 60 Sharks employees, myself included, were invited to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank and Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose.
I have helped out at Second Harvest before so I was looking forward to something different at Sacred Heart. It turned out to be a fun, eye-opening and enriching experience.
My assignment was to work at the checkout counter in the clothing store. It was set up just like a retail clothing store the only differences being that all the clothes, new and used, had been donated and there was no charge whatsoever to the customers. My job was to count the garments or shoes selected (five per family member) and then bag them up.
Being that it was a Monday morning, the store was busy. While there is no charge for the items, customers are allowed to visit the store only twice a month. So when the first of the month falls on a Monday, the line is long. There are many people in need of these clothing items.
Two things stuck out in my two hours of work. The first thing that occurred to me was what a wide variety of people passed through the doors. I suppose many of us have a preconceived idea of who the underprivileged and underserved may be.
I saw families, single men, the disabled, young and old alike, and every ethnicity imaginable was represented. It absolutely changed my perspective of the people in our community who need some help.
The other thing that I observed was how grateful people are. Time after time, customer after customer, everyone was so thankful for the clothing and other items. It was heartfelt thanks. Virtually everyone I met went out of his or her way to express it.
There are many wonderful agencies all over the Bay Area doing the kind of work that Sacred Heart is doing in San Jose. It’s an unfortunate reality that many people need help. For many of them it’s the boost they need to get them back on a successful track.
I know I look forward to our next service opportunity and I encourage all Sharks fans to think about volunteering or donating. To learn more about Sacred Heart please check out their website at http://www.sacredheartcs.org/.
I’m Randy Hahn.