By Joshua Holt | Stateside Media, Marketing Co-Chair for 2023
Image by: Braden Worrell
One of the many reasons Lakeland’s young professionals are drawn to EMERGE Lakeland is the numerous volunteer opportunities they have access to as a result. The Volunteer Committee, one of our five committees, serves our mission by seeking and promoting opportunities for our members to engage philanthropically within the Lakeland community.
Recently, the Volunteer Committee organized an evening social at Gospel Village in partnership with Gospel Inc. – a nonprofit organization that serves the community’s chronically homeless on their mission to ‘cultivate community among our friends on the streets and assist them through providing housing and dignified income opportunities’. The men and women impacted by Gospel Inc.’s outreach lead lives that are difficult by any standard and are members of a visible yet vastly discounted community, ignored by almost everyone. Life itself can be discouragingly lonely without companions to help boost morale or provide support for recovery during hardships. Gospel Inc. addresses these issues by offering housing and income opportunities while simultaneously fostering a strong sense of community.
EMERGE’s goal in visiting Gospel Village was to take a moment to regard the Village residents with dignity and respect. By sharing a warm, delicious meal and connecting with one another as fellow humans, we reflected our belief that the residents are deserving individuals who matter. Dinner, conversation, and mingling may seem like trivial acts to many, but sometimes the simplest of gestures can bear the greatest meaning to the recipient. By the end of the night, our volunteers gained an acute awareness of the impact we can create. Whether a force of many or an army of one, we all have the capacity to make the difference in our community.
Image by: Braden Worrell
For those looking to get involved with Gospel Inc. in the future – there are many opportunities! Here is a short list of five opportunities to make a difference with Gospel Inc:
Thursday Night Community Dinners: similar to the EMERGE Spaghetti Social, groups are always welcome to sponsor or bring in food for the community dinner. It means a lot to the residents that the community comes in, sits with them, and treats them like they too are humans and valuable and seen.
The Pantry: Gospel Inc hosts an onsite, free food pantry that is always accepting donations, should you feel led to give.
Renovations: For volunteers who are good with their hands, knowing how to build or have experience with plumbing – great news! Your skills are in high demand. Gospel Inc’s Gospel Village does all renovations in-house, meaning your skills are extremely valuable to their continued growth and sustainability.
Purchasing Art: One incredible and creative opportunity provided by Gospel Inc. is a small maker studio where residents can craft various goods, whether it be by sewing, painting, etc. These goods are sold at places like the farmers market, and allow the residents to earn a sort of income.
Coming Up on May 20th: There will be a Buena Market at Gospel Village where the various goods mentioned above will be available for purchase, as well as goods from other vendors, for a ground-breaking event on the site where they plan to build more tiny homes and increase their resident population.
For more information on how to get involved with Gospel Inc. or other local volunteer opportunities, reach out to Cherish Nicole, our Volunteer Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re an EMERGE member who’d like to join the Volunteer Committee, RSVP to the next Volunteer Committee Meeting through our Calendar!