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By Darlene Sweeney, Director of Volunteer Services

“Bloom where you are planted” is a well-known quote said by the Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567–1622). This quote came to mind today as I work from my home office, scheduling individuals and groups to serve at our 30th Street Food Pantry or Distribution Center. What does “bloom where you are planted” mean? To me it means to be content where God has placed you in life and make the most of your opportunity.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Month this April, I am humbled thinking about the vast array of volunteers we are so fortunate to have with us at St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis (SVdP Indy). They come in all shapes and sizes: young, old, and in between; diverse in ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds; home grown in Indiana and transplanted from other parts of the country. But they have one thing in common. They have all chosen to volunteer with us at SVdP Indy because they have seen something in our mission that has touched their hearts. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves: service to others.

Why do they volunteer?

  • For a greater sense of purpose and community
  • To meet new friends
  • To learn new skills
  • To serve others less fortunate
  • To give back for their many blessings
  • To feel a sense of pride and accomplishment
  • To make an investment of time to improve our community and the people who live in it
  • To have fun
  • To fulfill their service obligations at school. (Students, you know who you are! We love planting service seeds in young minds.)

Whatever the reason, our volunteers are united people from diverse backgrounds working together toward a common goal—all while building camaraderie and teamwork.

SVdP Indy is blessed to have over 5,100 volunteers across Indianapolis and Central and Southern Indiana. They are the blooms in our garden that blossom each day, enabling us to bring our harvest to our neighbors.

We do not take volunteers’ time and efforts for granted—we know they’re worth. In fact, at SVdP, volunteering provides valuable community service so more funds can be spent on improving and expanding the services we provide. The national estimated value of a volunteer’s time is now $29.95 per hour. Based on last year’s total volunteer hours of 198,933, the value to SVdP is $5,958,043! Imagine that!

To all our wonderful volunteers, know you are making an impact in your life, both in the lives of those you volunteer with as well as the lives of those who benefit from your efforts. And we are grateful!

A famous quote by DeAnn Hollis says, “The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”

From our hearts and the hearts of the neighbors we serve to yours, thank you! You have all given true meaning to our motto: Love Your Neighbor. So, come volunteer with SVdP Indy. You may just find you will bloom where are you planted!