After Jessica Jean went down to part-time at work in order to spend more time with her two daughters, she realized she had a little too much time on her hands while her children were at school.
She prayed on it. After taking a Women’s League class about how to best use one’s spiritual gifts, she realized she really wanted to give back to seniors.
In February, Jessica began working with Heart2Heart as a Food for Hope volunteer. Her devotion to seniors is why we named her Volunteer of the Month for May.
For Jessica, it all goes back to living for Christ and setting an example for her daughters, especially the eldest one who sometimes volunteers with her.
“I feel it’s the Holy Spirit working in my life,” Jessica said. “What am I supposed to do with my life? Be a mom and go to work, and that’s it? I want to give my life to Christ fully. So for me to give back — it’s just changed my whole perspective.”
Jessica now delivers a box of groceries each week from Help1One International, Inc. to a senior who lives nearby.
Most recently, she has started doing relief care, where she connects with seniors at their homes for some companionship and light household services.
A sister in Christ
Even though her interactions with the seniors during her meal drop offs were relatively brief, Jessica felt some deep connections with them, even when they don’t even speak the same language.
Her favorite senior, Arturo, only speaks Spanish, and Jessica does not. They communicate with a lot of hand gestures, but the meaning ultimately gets through.
“Once I was brought to tears,” Jessica remembers. “I’d had a particularly hard day. There were work issues, my two daughters had been challenging, but I left to go volunteer.”
Jessica brought Arturo his meals. He was trying to communicate while Jessica tried her best to decipher the words with Google Translate
“He was talking fast, but all of a sudden I understood. He told me that I’m his sister in Christ, and I just couldn’t stop the tears,” Jessica said. “This is why I do this.”
Being a Christian, she was so touched that the little bit that she does has made such a difference in the lives of these seniors.
“God has asked his servants to give back to his people, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Jessica said. “One day, we will be in one place together and there won’t be different languages. We’ll just be together.”
Setting an example
Jessica has two daughters, ages 8 and 3. They were a big reason she started volunteering. Her 8-year-old sometimes came with her to deliver the food.
“She calls everyone grandma or grandpa, and she wanted to come,” Jessica said. “She loves to be involved, loves to hear stories, and I want to be an example to her. We have to serve others and put others first. If as parents we don’t do what we say, it doesn’t mean anything.”
The seniors also love it when her daughter comes because they can dote on her. Since volunteering, Jessica has noticed that her daughter has made special efforts to share and be considerate to those around her, especially to other kids at school. Jessica has even noticed changes in herself.
“I’ve noticed that I’m more compassionate and willing to listen and show others empathy,” she said.
A heart to serve
Jessica hopes that others will feel called to volunteer and that they’d have the heart to serve.
“It makes me feel great,” she said. “It’s like having half a cup and then you fill it up. For me, it’s definitely fulfilling because my gifts are just giving. I love to give.”
She encourages people to give volunteering a try, even if they are nervous.
“There’s nothing to lose!” she said.