Volunteering in Texas

7 Sep 2017 Karina S. Henkel

“Does he really want to burn two weeks of vacation for that?”

That is usually the first thing I hear when I tell people that Andrew wants to volunteer with the Red Cross to help people in Texas. Hurricane Harvey has caused so much damage there and the following rain made everything even worse. Everybody has seen the pictures in the news. But Andrew is the only one I know, so far, who feels drawn to actually go there and help.

I was quite surprised when I got his text message asking me if I would mind him going to Texas. Of course, I did not mind at all. I understand that he wants to help. Since I moved here I noticed that it is important for many Americans to get engaged in helping others. Most of my friends do some volunteer work. Some help at local places that provide food, clothes, or shelter to the poor. Others volunteer for organizations that help the mentally ill, or old or sick people, with their daily lives. Many volunteer in their churches. There is a huge variety of work that can be done if you are willing to look for it. And I am not surprised that there is such a big need for all of this volunteer work, considering that the American welfare system has a lot of holes where people won’t be taken care off. But I am always in awe when I see how much Americans are willing to help others.

And now Andrew is one of them.

He went to an educational day in our town, organized by the Red Cross, and learned what his work and life might look like in Texas. We are now waiting to hear from the Red Cross if and when he is going to be deployed. It is not certain, at all, if they will need him. There are many more people all over the country offering their services than actually needed. Andrew has been at this point before. Up until now organizations have always asked him to give money because they have no lack in manpower.

But he wants to go there. He really wants to help people – not just by giving money. Maybe he should consider a career change if he feels such a deep need to do meaningful work?

I will let you know if he will get to Texas, or not.