Nov 3 2011 By Lorey Burt
SATURDAYS are usually quite an interesting day for me.
On Monday to Friday there is a routine to my work, but on Saturday there’s often something out of the ordinary to do.
Last Saturday held a celebration of Diwali and Hindu New Year, and also it was ‘Make a Difference Day’, one of the biggest volunteering events in the UK, organised by CSV.
My choice of how to make a difference was to volunteer at Shirley Marie Curie shop.
If you’ve never done this type of thing, I can tell you it’s great fun.
My favourite bit was selling in the shop, ‘offering customer service’, as the blurb goes.
I sold some boots, a coat, some tops and lots of items which came under the unkind category of ‘bric-a-brac’.
I was delighted at the number and variety of people who came into the shop: some looking for something in particular, others just browsing to see if anything had come in which took their fancy, to make a donation or just for a chat.
There are other jobs behind the scenes too, though. Sorting donations, preparing stock (they have a steamer for getting creases out of clothing) and making stock look attractive in the shop to mention three.
I came away feeling quite uplifted at all the positive exchanges I’d had during my time there.
In fact, it was altogether an uplifting day.
The Diwali & New Year celebrations are always a truly joyful occasion, and they devote great time and attention to the preparations.
They then invite the whole neighbourhood, of all religions and none, to come and participate. There’s a brief service, and then we are all invited to write down a prayer which would go to India where it would be prayed for. Then we were addressed by the children with stories about the Hindu heritage and culture, and finally fed sumptuous vegetarian food.
One of the stories we were told chimed particularly with me and with the volunteering experience I’d had earlier in the day.
The spiritual leader of BAPS (an organisation of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism) Pramukh Swami Maharaj, said ‘In the joy of others lies our own.’
If you want to create a little joy in others, and in yourself, I’m sure you have skills that could be put to use.
To make a difference yourself and find out more about volunteering opportunities, why not visit the CSV website (http://www.csv.org.uk/volunteering).