Every Saturday morning, Nicole Matthews spends time with two seniors before visiting her own mom at a nursing home. We named her the December Volunteer of the Month because of how she prioritizes helping others, such as going out of her way to help a man named Daniel through difficult times.
Giving back is Nicole’s life philosophy.
“I believe that’s how we should live in this world,” she said. “Whatever we can do to help — that’s why we’re here.”
Nicole first encountered Heart2Heart at Lenox on the Lake, where her mother lives. Volunteer Les Weiner was there to lead a Sunday service. He watched her flitting around the nursing home, spending time with other residents alongside her own mom.
He insisted that she meet Heart2Heart’s volunteer coordinator. Through the introduction, Nicole began serving in the Food for Hope program, delivering meals to two seniors named Daniel and Luis.
“Luis’ dog, Tito, has a special bark when he hears my car come in,” Nicole explained. “He tells Luis, ‘Nicole is here!’”
After time with Luis, she heads to see Daniel, who has been struggling to find work and has a heart condition.
“Daniel thinks he’s coursing through this world by himself. I tell him: ‘As long as you’re in the body of Christ, we’re in this together,’” Nicole said.
The final stop is to spend time with her own mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Her Saturday afternoon is jam packed, but Nicole said she doesn’t mind.
“We’re the hands and feet of God. We’re his voice, a conduit for speaking God’s word into people’s lives,” she said. “We’re supposed to make time to help each other.”
During the week, Nicole is an accountant and is taking classes toward a Master’s degree. Despite her own busy schedule, she encourages other people to give an hour or two to help others. It doesn’t take an overseas mission trip to help people in need, she explains.
“Sometimes your neighbor doesn’t have any food to eat,” she said.
If you pay attention, even after people say they’re OK, you may see needs that are not met.
“You may be that person that God uses to reach out, but we have to avail ourselves,” she said.