Give thanks by sharing your time

November 12, 2013

HOUSTON — Thanksgiving is almost here. For many, it is a day of food, family and football, plus the anticipation of shopping sales on Black Friday. 

However, it also can be a day to reflect, a day to consider what really matters in life and what people are grateful for — the list is often endless, but it could be faith, family, friends, a job, good health, reliable transportation, or a home. 

At times people take these things for granted, but Thanksgiving is a reminder to sit back and think about all the blessings in one’s life.
It is the perfect time to gather with others and give to those less fortunate. There are numerous volunteer opportunities across the Archdiocese. 

Many parishes host Thanksgiving Day dinners for those less fortunate. Volunteers are always needed to help set-up, prepare or serve meals, or to assist with cleaning up. 

There are other ways to express gratitude, such as cleaning out closet space and donating the items to people in need or delivering meals to the homebound elderly. 

Another way in which to help is by purchasing a couple of extra items — ideally canned goods — at the grocery store and donating them to one of the many parish-based food pantries.

Sometimes simply visiting and spending time with residents in a nursing home can help brighten people’s day. 

Mary Pat de Lozier, a Vincentian volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said, “making home visits to the poor is the greatest and most humbling honor of my life. To recognize the face of Jesus in the poor only enhances the merciful love that I want to share with all of my family members and friends. Charity to the poor has enriched my faith, my participation in daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacraments and ministries of the Church and my desire to put God first in my life.” 

Like many non-profit organizations and parishes around the Archdiocese, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is always seeking volunteers at all levels of commitment.

“When I help other people, it makes me feel good,” Isaiah, a youth volunteer for Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said. “My only mission on Earth is to do God’s will and help other people in need.”

There are many ways to get involved. A few of the society’s needs include volunteering at one of its thrift stores, its Food Depot or at its Warehouse Donation and Distribution Center. 

San José Clinic, which provides quality health services to the uninsured and under-insured, is also open for volunteers. 

Last year alone, they served more than 4,350 unduplicated patients and, so far this year, they have already helped more than 4,000 people. The only way for them to accomplish this is through the dedication of volunteers. 

The clinic relies on both patient care volunteers who provide direct health care to patients, and patient support volunteers who give their time without providing direct health care.

Their needs include medical professionals (physicians, nurses and LVNs, medical assistants, dentists, pharmacists and more). 

“San José Clinic was founded based on the concept of volunteerism,” Laura John, human resources and volunteer administrator at San José Clinic, said. “Volunteers help support our mission year round to provide quality health care and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment which respects the dignity of each person.”

For those who are not medical professionals, there is also a need for administrative help, patient and fundraising events, or to help translate Spanish.

For volunteer information at San José Clinic, visit to complete a volunteer application. For additional information, contact the Volunteer Office at 713-228-9413 or email 

For a full list or more information for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, visit or contact Michelle Gonzalez at 832-538-0323 or

Additionally, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul accepts donations at various sites across the region. They will pick-up any large items, such as furniture. To donate, call 713-741-8234 or visit