Photo by Bonnie Manning, Feature Photographer
The Christmas season is upon us and with it comes a spirit of love and giving unlike any other time of year, which inspires many people looking for ways to give back to those in need.
Susan Adams of Fort Wayne sums up why she gives back by quoting the Bible. “For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
“I want to live as Jesus is calling us to live – to love others as you love yourself,” Susan said. “Knowing how blessed and fortunate I am, gives me a strong desire and passion to give back – especially to hurting women.”
Susan has volunteered several places over the past few decades such as churches, Matthew 25, A Hope Center, the Allen County Jail and The Redemption House, where she currently serves and is a board member.
“I’ve gone through so many times in my life when I had good counseling and good role models and I remember thinking to myself how much I wanted to be that source for other women someday,” Susan said.
Her servant’s heart has inspired her daughter, Liz Adams, to live her life with the same generous spirit.
“Growing up, I remember mom volunteering at different places. She was not selfish with her time and knew it was important to give back to people who need it,” Liz said. “I’ve learned a lot about selflessness and kindness from my mom and I am constantly challenged by her. She lives her life as the hands and feet of Christ, loving people with her whole heart.”
Liz learned at an early age volunteering doesn’t just help the people you are serving, but it also helps form personal character as well. “When I volunteer I am stretched in ways I wouldn’t normally be and I am constantly taught how valuable it is to give one of the most precious of resources – time – to those who need it. There’s nothing better than knowing you’ve made a difference, even if it is one person’s life,” Liz said.
As the campus life director for Huntington North High School and the volunteer coordinator for Huntington County, Liz currently leads a team of 25 volunteers to help serve in Youth for Christ in Huntington County and says it’s very rewarding watching them make a difference in high school student’s lives.
The Redemption House Ministry ministers to women in a residential-home setting, providing an alternative to incarceration. Donations of everyday needs, used or new clothes for the residents, gift cards and other financial support are always accepted.
Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana is a non-profit that works with the local church and other partners to teach students how to live a balanced life and to become life-long followers of Christ. YFC is in need of volunteers to mentor students in their communities. Visit yfcnin.org for more information.
When it comes to giving back – there are so many choices such as the Salvation Army, United Way, Community Harvest Food Bank, Rescue Mission, A Baby’s Closet, or if you’re an animal lover, the SPCA or the Humane Society.
“Volunteering and giving back is a rewarding opportunity,” Susan said. “I recommend it to everyone; it’s an opportunity to take the focus off of ourselves and start seeing the hurts of others.”
“Giving back is something everyone should do,” Liz said. “Over the years, I’ve served in a lot of soup kitchens, but there’s something special about serving over the holidays, there just seems to be much more thankfulness and kindness as you serve.”
So where will you be giving back this holiday season?