“They need that more, they need interaction and people, and to see that you actually care about them and want to see how they’re doing.”
Our community food bank, also known as the Outreach Center, has been hard at work, sorting, boxing up and giving out food goods to our community. And while so many are in need of help with groceries each week, the heart of the Outreach Center is about much more. To Bola, one of our most dedicated volunteers, it’s about connecting with neighbors, and helping them get through tough times.
“When the people come in, I don’t see them as coming in for food, I see them as coming in so you can have a conversation with them,” he explains. “They need that more, they need interaction and people, and to see that you actually care about them and want to see how they’re doing.”
For Bola, and his sister Estir who also volunteers, caring for their neighbors is personal. As kids they used to come to the Outreach Center with their mom, after immigrating to Lancaster from Egypt. “We were in the same shoes as these people when we came to the United States,” Bola says. “So my passion comes from how my community gives back to me. I feel that the least I can do is give back to my community.”
Today, Bola is a Biology major at Millersville University, but he never forgets his roots. Over the last several years, he’s spent much of his free time, especially over summer and winter breaks, volunteering at our Outreach Center. And although he doesn’t mind the extra hands-on work that comes from COVID-19, he does miss meeting our neighbors face-to-face. “I just want them to know that we are always here for them…because when they come here to receive food, they don’t really come to receive food. They come to receive hope and our love and commitment to them.”
Every day, Bola and Estir are inspired to demonstrate the same love and compassion they see in Jesus, who stopped in the middle of His busy day to feed and care for the 5,000. “We want to make a difference, even if it’s a small difference of giving out food,” says Estir. “It will just make someone’s day better.”