The following was written by AHA Senior Tommy Fleetham '15 as a culminating project to his Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
The snowflakes were huge. I walked through the front garage of Bridging and pulled my hood tighter as the flakes hit my face. I looked out towards the endless line of U-Haul trucks lined up so far that they curved around the whole Bridging parking lot. I knew this was going to be a big day for Bridging. We would unload all the trucks full of donations consisting of furniture, clothes, appliances, and many other large necessities that would stock the warehouse with items many families need. I grabbed my gloves and patted my friend Ryan on the back as we lifted a sofa out of the truck and then carried it into the warehouse.
I serve at Bridging in Bloomington on Saturdays with a group of AHA students, also from the Campus Ministry Team. We know the people there and have become great friends. We talked to the manager at Bridging and based our Service learning project off of their needs. We learned that they are always in a great need for towels in the spring and so we had a towel drive at school to help fill that need, resulting in eighty donated towels.
Bridging is an organization that takes in donations of furniture, beds, clothes, blankets, dishes, silverware, and any other necessities. The large warehouse that they are stored in is also where volunteers clean the items if necessary and put them into their assigned aisles. Bridging Partner Agencies refer people who need these items or people who are in a bad situation and need help to recover. On certain days of the week, families come in to Bridging and get to pick a certain number of items in each aisle free of charge, depending on the size of the family. Once the items are chosen, we, as volunteers, load up these items on U-hauls and send them to the different houses and apartments in which the families live.
As I have served at Bridging, I have learned more about myself than I have about others. Sometimes I serve there and all I do is wash silverware for three hours, which usually makes me grumble, but I do it anyway because I know some people don’t have any. I have learned that the little things I own and have at my house at such an easy disposal may be very hard for some families to get. I now catch myself when I take the simple things for granted and when I complain about the smallest things when they don’t even matter. I also realize these families may not have had the childhood that I have, a childhood consisting of a supportive family, a great education, and an outstanding environment to learn about life’s lessons. I get into my car after Bridging and I think, with a new outlook on life, about not what I want, but about what I can do for others to fulfill their dreams.
Jesus said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I interpret this as we should not ever boast about our property or belongings, but boast in the name of Jesus Christ to help others with anything they need physically, spiritually, or mentally.