Paterson, NJ, On Sunday, April 8, Eva’s Village turned the tables on more than 120 volunteers, who came to Eva’s Community Kitchen not to serve others, but to partake in a festive meal honoring their dedication and service. Students at Eva’s Culinary School prepared the meal including hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, carving stations with roast turkey, lamb and ham, side dishes and desserts.
Each April during National Volunteer Month, Eva’s Village celebrates the volunteers who embody the spirit of giving that lies at the core of the organization’s mission. “Volunteer support has a tremendous impact on the way we deliver services at Eva’s Village. Each volunteer becomes the face of Eva’s Village, welcoming our guests and clients with kindness and a warm smile,” remarked Angela Vance, Eva’s Volunteer Coordinator. In the last year, over 3,500 volunteers donated more than 30,000 hours of their time–pitching in to serve meals in Eva’s Community Kitchen, helping clients prepare to re-enter the workforce, working in Eva’s Medical and Dental Clinics, providing peer recovery support, assisting with special events, and working outdoors to beautify Eva’s grounds.
Men and women of all ages volunteer at Eva’s Village; many have been serving for more than three decades. Some come as a group while others who serve individually bond with those who volunteer on the same day of the week. Without exception, Eva’s regular volunteers keep coming back because they find personal meaning and purpose in their work.
Carol Murray shared her volunteer experience with the gathering. She first came to volunteer “looking for a purpose.” Initially, she wondered, “How can one person make a difference? How can one meal help someone?” As she continued to serve, she said, she realized that “treating each guest with respect, dignity and kindness may change their day.” At Eva’s and in her personal life, she offered, “one good day can lead to another, which can lead to hope, and hope is the first step that becomes a new life for people who are struggling.”
"Giving that gift of hope makes a brighter day for our clients. Collectively we make people’s lives better here.“