On March 27, Mr. Matthew Kennedy – a 2019 Sufi Service volunteer – was selected as the recipient of the President’s Award for Biomedical Engineering in Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. The President’s Awards honors one graduating senior in each major for academic excellence and consistent involvement in co-curricular activities. Mr. Matthew Kennedy maintained high standards of academic achievement while making outstanding contributions to the Wentworth community through involvement in athletics, student leadership and/or student organizations.
On March 31, Matt updated our profiles in different websites to reflect our needs for new volunteers in the spring. We shifted our inventory from winter clothes to summer clothes, and Kat created a comprehensive manual for the clothes program. Lauren drafted a manual for mail merge to send thousands of invitations for our upcoming anniversary event.
Early in April, we served a monthly brunch at a low-income building in Somerville, MA. A volunteer had collected some canned foods and brought them to the shelter. This weekend, the closeness of volunteers to each other was visibly felt; the volunteers saw each other as a source of wisdom and sensible, responsible solutions to each other’s problems. Two volunteers shared their sleep disorders with another to seek a solution. Kat shared her motherly care with the visiting Yasaman from Amherst, MA in her tiny apartment so the latter could search for a job in the greater Boston area. Michael, a well versed violinist and storyteller taught Yasaman how to play the instrument.
On Easter Sunday at a Cambridge homeless shelter, we served split pea soup with oyster crackers, bread, meatballs (ground meat, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and milk), salad (lettuce, cucumber, olives, cheese, croutons, bacon bits, Caesar dressing), Easter cupcakes with chocolate Easter eggs, marble cake, brownies, fruit (oranges, bananas and apples), coffee and of course tons and tons of love and humor!
“Dear Sufi Service Committee,
“There is no way I could properly express my gratitude for the safe and precious volunteering opportunities you provide for me and my children. There is no way I could give you the kind of support you’ve given me. Is there any point in my thanks? Can a leaf thank a tree, let alone a jungle? The kindness you’ve shown me is a part of the sea of love that belongs to the stars and universe. Know that I will forever be contributing to it, thanks to your exemplary role! Know that you have gained family in me. Know that I infinitely love you and appreciate you.”
– Amy, a departing Sufi volunteer
“I met Maria at the shelter. She is a wonderful woman, very kind and she doesn’t need to know you in order to embrace you and share her good energy with you.”
“Don’t ask what Sally can do very well. Ask what she cannot do — the list is shorter!
“Once I realized there was service at the shelter this Sunday, I immediately cancelled my scheduled night away. Volunteering at the wet homeless shelter every third Sunday is such a rewarding special experience.
“Easter Sunday [is] a festival and a holiday Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after his crucifixion and burial. It is typically the most well attended Sunday church service of the year. I honestly could not think of anywhere I would rather be on Easter Sunday and I hope we brought some Easter cheer to those less fortunate.
“After many months serving there I feel I have made some real friends at the shelter who I really like to see and connect with. I love to serve nice food and spend special holidays there. The Easter bunny cupcakes were a big hit and many of the residents missed our regular delicious hot chocolate so we may continue to serve this even though summer is coming! Or maybe some homemade lemonade instead.
“Every month I cherish my time helping at shelter. It teaches me to be humble, more kind and thankful for everything in my life. In a single second anybody’s life can take a turn for the worse. Nobody is immune to this. While I can, I will always do my best to serve and help those who are homeless.”
– Kathryn Murphy
“In preparation to our monthly service at the shelter I can’t come up with enough words to thank everyone for how much help, compassion and real dedication has been given. I feel admiration for young guys like Ben who woke up early on a Saturday just to help me with shopping at one of the biggest stores, on one of the busiest days of the year, the day before Easter.
“[I appreciate] the invaluable help of Bill, who patiently made more than 180 meatballs on a beautiful day that every other human preferred to be outside enjoying the weather.
“The creativity of some of the volunteers is incredible. Matt offered to make coleslaw but he could not find any at the store so immediately changed to Caesar salad, which turned out to be a great idea because the residents at the shelter loved it!
“Having a nice homemade soup could be one of the most fantastic dreams that a human can have, especially residents who are sheltered in places with cold weather. Kat is making this dream possible because the soups she makes are extremely delicious.
“The satisfaction of seeing the faces of the residents at the shelter when they eat the food made with love and thought for them is indescribable. Not only does it satisfy the hunger in their bellies, but also to satisfy the cravings, especially the sweet tooth almost all humans have, is unbelievable. When you think about happiness for the less fortunate you think ahead, exactly in the way Kathryn does when she brings cupcakes, cakes, cookies, etc. The faces of the shelter residents just glowing looking at those goodies, yum yum.
“I cannot miss the opportunity to say all this energy and good mood to serve at the shelter would not be possible if we also didn’t feed [ourselves] well before this service. Mr. Noor takes really good care of each one of us with his creativity and original recipes every single time (I just wonder where he gets the recipes from?)
“Having the opportunity to prepare and serve food at the shelter is just a reminder that I should feel grateful and blessed in so many ways, I thank the universe for giving me this beautiful opportunity.”
– Maria Jimenez
Maria is hand decorating brownies with whipped cream
“Volunteering my time with Sufi Service has always been remarkably rewarding, and I especially enjoy the days that we serve brunch at this wet shelter in Cambridge. The volunteers themselves are all wonderful people who I have gotten to know over time and enjoy preparing the meal with. There is something great about cooking a tasty meal, smelling it, and getting excited about how much the people that we serve will enjoy it. The people that we serve are very grateful and it makes the whole experience more than worth it; after every brunch, we have a few individuals coming up to us and telling us how great the food was. It’s moments like these that really make me enjoy my time volunteering”