Our week 17 volunteer experience gave us an opportunity to spend time with an organization whose mission is to “furnish help to rebuild lives.” It is an organization that lives and breathes this mission every day. The Mustard Seed Furniture Bank of Fort Wayne provides furniture and household items to individuals and families who are rebuilding their lives. Many of these people have experienced personal hardships, tragic disasters. and in some instances bad luck. The people who utilize the service often come from a variety of situations. Some have recently lost all of their belongings in a house fire. Others may be leaving a homeless shelter or incarceration. Even a death of a family member may leave a family, or individuals, in a situation where they need to start over. The Mustard Seed is there for these people. During its ten years of operation, the Mustard Seed has helped over 5000 households impacting the lives of men, women, and children.
We volunteered during the community collection day. This was the day that the community could drop of their old furniture, household items, and clothing as donations. The Mustard Seed has a couple of days like this each year where they plan to take in and receive as much as possible. They coordinate with other non-profit organizations in Fort Wayne to share the items collected. On this particular day, St. Vincent DePaul, Habitat for Humanity, and Cross Borders were there to assist in the collection. Our job was to help with the collection of clothing. The Mustard Seed does not usually handle clothing, but they encourage it during the community collection days. We greeted those who were dropping of donations and unloaded their vehicles for them. We loaded the items into the St. Vincent DePaul truck so that it could be dispersed properly. After receiving the goods, we would get them a receipt and send them on their way. The work was not strenuous or difficult. This experience was another great opportunity to involve the entire family. Our girls, ages 13 and 10, helped us collect the donations and they enjoyed during it. Their only concern was the work attire. My girls were not too excited to wear the bright orange safety vests while working in the parking lot. It didn’t meet the standard for fashion that Saturday morning, but they were troopers and suffered through the fashion nightmare.
We enjoyed our time with the Mustard Seed. Unfortunately, the donations were slow to come in during our time helping out. I think that the Fort for Fitness event and the on-and-off rain kept people away that day. Regardless of the amount of items we collected, it was clear to us the passion that exists in the people at the Mustard Seed. Suzie Jordan, the Executive Director and driving force behind the organization, is an amazing person. She shared with us many stories of those who they have helped. She is committed to making an impact on the lives of others and it is contagious. You do not have to spend much time with her to feel her energy and commitment to the mission. It is people like Suzie who are true heroes in our society. A person who dedicates her life to serving others. To her, it is not a job. It is her life. I am confident that with Suzie at the helm the Mustard Seed will continue to “furnish help to rebuild lives.’ During a short Saturday morning experience, they forever touched mine.
Visit www.mustardseedfortwayne.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.