Nastacia Yamashiro, Guest Contributor Sonoma State STAR
Every month there are several events where people have the opportunity to volunteer at a non-profit organization. These events are held by Sonoma State University’s on-campus community service club known as Join Us Making Progress. Through JUMP, Sonoma State is provided with a program known as Days of Service where students who are unable to commit on a weekly basis can volunteer on specific days. The event is known as Generosity Service Day and took place on Feb. 21. For students who volunteer on these specific days, the location of the organization that they are assigned to is not revealed until the day of. The reason for this is because there are different locations that students go to.
One scenario one can expect when involved in JUMP: A JUMP leader took four volunteers to help at a homeless shelter in Petaluma called Committee on the Shelterless. Although COTS may sound like an ordinary shelter, there are several unique aspects about it. Unlike most shelters where one gets in and gets out the next day, COTS provides several homeless individuals and families a safe place to live for several months. However, some are required to complete a program while others have different requirements to fulfill. The shelter is located in the Mary Isaak Center and is connected to Petaluma Kitchen, which provides residents as well as nonresidents free meals from donated food that is received from various organizations. Together, they operate as one to help people get their lives back on track.
While volunteering at COTS, volunteers can be assigned a myriad of tasks, including being placed to work in the back of the kitchen where one sorts vegetables and fruits into baskets. The shelter receives several visits from people who bring in donations from home and from local stores. Volunteers can also help unload cars of donated goods and continue to sort through them, as well as help serve food in the cafeteria. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., COTS offers free lunch to their residents and to anyone who happens to come in. As one can imagine, there can be quite a crowd and volunteers are given the opportunity to interact with the people there, residents and non-residents who were friendly and polite. Volunteering can leave one feeling grateful that one was given the chance to help.
For anyone interested in meeting new people and helping out the community, join JUMP.
Not only are the events exciting, but one can come out of the experience feeling good about themselves.