April is National Volunteer Month! All month long, we’ll be sharing stories from our incredible community of volunteers.
Today, we hear from Bridget Sullivan, a volunteer for Package Deliveries, Birthday Deliveries and more!
How did you get involved with DOROT?
In the winter of 2020, a very scary time to be in NYC as the pandemic was well underway, I remember feeling extremely lonely, isolated, fearful, sad and worried about the state of the world, my family and friends, our city, and what was to come. When I ventured out of my apartment (and had the incredibly good fortune to be healthy and able to go for walks, and very cognizant of having a support system), I thought about all the many people who were deeply hurting, like never before. Having heard about DOROT, through word of mouth - and passing the building - their amazing outreach to the community of "the isolated," and being acutely aware of the growing need all around me, how could I not step in and step up to provide 'boots on the ground' support, if they would have me?
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
I started with a one-time Winter Package Delivery and Caring Call, and thereafter have made many Birthday Deliveries and Calls as well as volunteered for the grocery pickup/delivery partnership program between DOROT and the Westside Campaign Against Hunger.
How do you fit volunteering into your schedule?
I have a full-time job working at a very busy non-profit that also works with underserved communities, with hours that go well past your typical Mon-Friday, 9-5 job. However, I feel strongly that volunteerism isn't just for some people but should be a part of everyone's life...no matter how many obligations you have. DOROT makes it easy to be a volunteer with flexible schedules and only a commitment to the opportunity you agree to. The flexibility to work around my own schedule of availability is key to my continuing on as a (grateful) volunteer, 18+ months later, and being a part of the solution to isolation in my own community.
What is something you learned as a DOROT volunteer?
What I learned is that although DOROT's mission is beautifully rooted in the Jewish tradition (as is the name), their initiatives and efforts to alleviate social isolation are not relegated to any one group -- but rather, they are a loving, all-embracing, compassionate org which works tirelessly to face the problem and find a solution for those suffering from isolation, regardless of faith or background.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
Born and raised as a proud New Yorker, I was taught to believe that volunteerism and service are imperative to creating community, including reaching out to the many who are alone and isolated, with the simple gesture of a call, a visit, something to let them know they matter and they are seen. If each of us took a few moments a day to SEE each other, really see and look into the eyes, especially of the elderly, we would open the door to a whole world of possibility. I am the fortunate one to have this opportunity, thanks to DOROT, to serve in this way.
What is your most memorable volunteer moment with DOROT?
I made a Birthday delivery to an amazing woman who I met in the lobby of her lovely building. Although she was living in what I would consider to be a somewhat "upscale" new development building (far more beautiful than many), when we sat down to talk, I realized there was far more to her story behind her eyes that sparkled. There was pain, sadness, and a fire in her that needed to be acknowledged and lifted up. By the time I returned home from our visit and truly wonderful conversation, she had already left me the most effusive, kind, joyful message I've ever received. I've never heard someone go on one about a cupcake as she did! She went on and on about every detail of the package, as well as the details of our conversation, and more, and could not say enough about DOROT and all the organization did to make her feel "seen."
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
I would like others to know that the staff are an amazing group of caring, compassionate, professionals, who collectively create a circle of kindness that is needed now more than ever, and that volunteering with DOROT is not only meaningful and the most turn-key way to get involved (to whatever degree YOU choose), but it is also one that sets the table where we should all "sit a spell" or more.. Those living in isolation are you and me...they are us; we are them.
Learn more about volunteering HERE!