We recently celebrated volunteer appreciation week at Mobile Loaves & Fishes by highlighting some of the many ways our volunteers have stepped up to serve during the pandemic. Though we would have preferred to celebrate our volunteers by hosting an appreciation event here at the Village, due to the pandemic, we turned our appreciation into a week-long celebration on social media! Before we had to temporarily close Community First! Village to outside guests in March, we would see hundreds of volunteers each week serving goodness in Genesis Gardens, the art house, the Community Market and elsewhere around the Village. Our staff, missionals and neighbors were able to build relationships with volunteers every day through human to human, heart to heart interactions. Although social distancing has kept us apart, our volunteers have stepped up in incredible ways these past several months, helping us continue to connect with the community from a distance. 

“While we had to make the tough decision back in March to temporarily close Community First! Village to outside guests, this did not prevent us from pressing forward with our vision of empowering communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.” 

Anna Campbell, Volunteer Manager

Many volunteers have continued to stay engaged with our neighbors while serving them from a distance by creating beautiful, hand-crafted artwork for our neighbors to enjoy. Each week, more men and women are moving off the streets into new homes in Phase II of Community First! Village, and making sure that each home is special is very important to us. Community First! Village is known for its uniqueness, including the fine details that make up each one of our eclectic homes. 

In addition to serving our neighbors living in the Village, supporters have continued to show up for our homeless friends who are still living on the streets. We have regularly seen volunteers delivering food and other essentials to the Village, which gives us great joy! Because of the support we have received, we have been able to continue stocking our food trucks for the men and women suffering through this pandemic on the streets, and have helped our neighbors to stay safe in the Village by not having to travel off-site to buy grocery and hygiene items. 

From handmade artwork to essential donations, it has been amazing to see the desire of volunteers have to serve Austin’s most vulnerable men and women, especially in these difficult times. The year 2020 has been hard on us all, but in many ways, it has shown us just how much Goodness exists in our community.