Give and Take: Charlotte’s Relationship with Philanthropy
By Lucy A. Sams

As I struggled to slam the trunk, the moisture saturated my striped shirt. I grabbed the cooler off the pavement and walk/ran to the protection of the porch. I placed the cooler next to the “welcome” frog that constantly smiled. She yanked the door open before I had a chance to knock, recovered the cooler, and promptly slammed the door. Most days my host was quite pleasant, but the bad weather had warranted her rudeness today. The storm was in progress and I had four more deliveries. As a Friendship Trays volunteer, I prepare and transport meals in the Charlotte community.

I became a Charlotte Transplant over a decade ago. Once I settled into the flow of Charlotte’s one-way streets and neighborly smiles, I delved into the volunteer scene. Volunteering in this community has been AMAZING! Not only have I given back, but I’ve received smiles, thank yous, laughs, and friends in return. I’ve always volunteered, even as a child. I come from a family of public servants, so the community has always been a part of my life. Over the years, I have volunteered at a variety of community-focused events. These experiences have allowed me to become acquainted with longtime residents of Charlotte, and new arrivals. It has allowed me to make memory, after memory with people who share my love of community. I have helped clean out ponds and planted butterfly gardens with Park & Rec. The opportunity to build someone’s new home is an opportunity that should not be missed through Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. I was able to master my hammering skills AND share some racy jokes with the crew. Cheering people on as they cross the finish line at the Greater Charlotte Heart Walk is truly a magical experience. The American Heart Association dedicates this event to survivors, their families, and anyone who supports heart and stroke health.

If you ever want to lend a helping hand, but don’t know where to begin “Hands On Charlotte” offers an extensive list of volunteer opportunities. I’ve been able to participate in many “special” projects with their help. I’ve sung songs and colored with the children of displaced families, as their parents received financial education. I’ve ran around a college campus “rescuing” waterfowl that required a more ideal habitat. Best of all, I’ve created memories and connections that will last a lifetime.
So if you are new to Charlotte or you’ve been here awhile consider connecting with your community by volunteering. It has been a life-defining decision for me and I can guarantee you it will be worth it.

Link to Hands on Charlotte Calendar: