Operation Oak City Outreach – Every 3rd Saturday From 10:30 a.m. To 1:30 p.m.

As you may be aware, our Council has undertaken another project to share our evangelism in the community. Project “Oak City Outreach” affords the opportunity to serve others in a very unique manner. With little effort we’re able to add meaning to someone’s day. As of last month, every 3rd Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. volunteers from our Council will serve as host to the disadvantage at the Center in downtown Raleigh. The task on surface may seem small to those providing but has significant impact to those receiving.

After our experience, I’ve ask volunteers to share what it meant to them. Following is an account by Brother Julio Vazquez:

A little salt, a little pepper

Today, for the first time, I volunteered at the Oak City Outreach Center as a volunteer host. There were a number of us who decided to go down as a group and none of us were exactly sure what to expect. I was one of two who went to the initial orientation and I knew that we weren’t to serve food, that was being done by the churches and restaurants that had already established that relationship with the center. We were to just help the homeless who were using the facility for food and a place to “be”.

We signed in, put on our name tags and went to the volunteer coordinator to get our assignments. I was given a salt and pepper shaker and was told to just go around and ask the guests if they would like salt and pepper and just hand them the shakers and let them use as much as they want. The coordinator told me to just engage with them – the idea was to provide them a sense of dignity and comradery.

Part of me wondered what going around handing out salt and pepper would really mean in the scheme of things. I did as I was told and was amazed at how grateful the men and woman were for this small act of kindness. Not a big feat but you would think that I had handed them shakers of gold.

As the minutes went by, I was chatting and laughing with the guests. Some of us even sang together with the music played by one of the guests. There were more smiles as I walked around and they addressed me by name and asked me to sit and take a load off. It was a good and warm experience. This was definitely one of the better days I’ve had in my life.

I was asked by one of the guests if I’d be back. I said, “definitely!” I got a smile in return and a “I hope to see you then.” I smiled back.

Julio J. Vazquez

To volunteer, contact Julio – julio_v27612@yahoo.com or myself Ben Briggs @ bbriggs276@yahoo.com

Ben M. Briggs, II
Grand Knight Council 9880
St Raphael Catholic Church
Raleigh, NC

(919) 931-9966 cell