In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 19-25, 2020), the organization I’m volunteering at—North Texas Food Bank (NTFB)—has asked us to share our own volunteer story of why we chose to volunteer with NTFB and about being a virtual volunteer as a Social Media Ambassador.
Founded in 1982, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of more than 200 Partner Agencies in 13 counties.
My volunteer story with the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) started in early spring 2019 when my company hosted a canned food drive. Several of my colleagues and I volunteered to help organize the food items that employees at our company donated. During this period of collecting the food items, I learned that one of my coworkers received help from NTFB at a time when she really needed it. This touched me deeply and I knew I had to get involved and volunteer to help NTFB throughout the year.
I was so happy to learn about the NTFB’s Social Media Ambassador program since going to volunteer in person would not work for me. Because I have several social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as my own blog and official website), I knew I could help spread the word on social media about hunger and North Texas Food Bank’s mission to feed food insecure children, families, and seniors in the North Texas community.
I’m passionate about issues related to children, poverty, and hunger. April 2020 marks 40 years that my family and I have been in the U.S. Ten years ago, I made a personal pledge to give back and encourage others to volunteer their time and donate money to worthwhile causes.
My life’s journey has been marked by challenges. These hardships have served as important life lessons. They keep me humble and remind me to give thanks, give back, help others, not complain, and be mindful that no matter how bad I think my problem or situation is in life, there is always someone who is much worse off than me, and who would give anything to trade places with me.
I give (my time and money) not because I’m a saint (far from it) or because I want the recognition (I don’t), but because I know what it feels like to struggle. Every time I give, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be alive, healthy, and living in America [read my story about the significance of April 30th and escaping from Vietnam].
I love this quote from the book, Ego Is the Enemy:
“Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound.” -Ryan Holiday
Finally, as a father and parent to a soon-to-be six year old girl, my hope is that, through watching her daddy and mommy help others, that she, too, would do the same. There is, perhaps, no greater honor or success as a parent than to raise a child to be happy, kind, compassionate, helpful, and generous.
“Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.’” (Mark 12:41-44, New Living Translation)
Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Leadership Development Advisor