Volunteering can be part of a lifestyle. Márcia is a 57-year-old self-reliant businesswoman giving between 7 to 11 hours a week for people living in poverty. For the past 36 years, she has volunteered in almost all welfare services of the Centro Espírita Amor e Fé aside from other two non-profit organizations established in Tupaciguara where she lives with her husband and one of her three children. Nowadays, Márcia is engaged in delivering food baskets directly to the homes of needy families as well as doing their registration and follow-up visits. Márcia is skillful in undertaking all these tasks and working in her women's apparel factory while putting some time aside for her reserved hobbies as an indoor person. “Sometimes it sounds impossible to harmonize professional and volunteer work, but it’s not too hard if you learn to deal with people”, she advised.
According to Márcia, the most challenging thing about the registry is encountering people in extreme difficulties and knowing that there is little you can do. “I'm heartbroken by an apparent suicide of one of the mothers we have assisted for the past four years. She left behind three young children along with her husband and mother-in-law who are devastated. We have given them our support and despite the limitations that we have, helping them is rewarding”, she declared.
Márcia joined the Centro’s volunteer base at age 12 after being invited by one of her friends to participate in weekly campaigns for the collection of supplies used in the assembly of food baskets for families without livelihood conditions. Back then, she decided to follow her parents’ footsteps as a spiritist believer and had the opportunity to learn from older people with whom she shared the cause of fighting misery. Volunteering was incorporated into her healthy lifestyle and she has had a fortunate life. “I learned to love what I do and that having is not as important as being”, she emphasized.
The Centro’s care services depend completely on volunteers’ voices and actions. Last quarter, 390 food baskets were delivered in assistance to 660 children, 1,583 people in total. September was the hardest month due to low supplies. In October and November, the food baskets were enriched with fruit, vegetables, cakes, popcorn and fries. In December, special food baskets were made with essential items and other in-kind goods donations like 150 panettoni plus sodas, hygiene kits, and Christmas gifts for children. A team of 42 volunteers has covered all welfare services including the delivery of 850 lunchboxes.
Although we achieved just 31% of the project’s goal in 2022, we are wholeheartedly committed to aiding 150 families per month in the next year. We have planned to grow the number of volunteers working to reach the beneficiaries. For these reasons, we are going to offer a course to prepare the volunteers to improve our registry — the main tool for our project’s evaluation — and give more personalized help. Márcia will be with us on this journey. She began to question herself at a very young age and she believes taking care of others is part of her purpose in life. Now, it may be your time to ask yourself if lending a hand is something that suits you.