Don Dunning

Don Dunning, of Independence, Missouri, heard about the need for volunteers in a weekly email from the senior pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in the Kansas City metro area. Intrigued by a volunteer opportunity at the St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen and Shelter in Gallup, New Mexico, Don signed up to serve.

He spent two weeks last June with the Sisters of Missionaries of Charity serving men experiencing
homelessness. His daily routine included preparing and serving breakfast for the men before they had to leave the shelter at 6:00 a.m., doing laundry, sweeping and wiping down mattresses in the sleeping quarters, setting up the dining room every evening for dinner, screening the men before they entered the soup kitchen and overseeing those spending the night at the shelter. He also helped with repairs and maintenance work around the shelter when needed.

Studies show that volunteering is good for physical and mental health, which Don agrees to be true. “My time in Gallup was both emotionally and physically tiring, but yet so rewarding,” he said. “My interactions with the Sisters and the clients have formed memories that will last forever.”

One of the things that will stick with Don is the lifelong sacrifices the Sisters make, and the unconditional love they show to the community they serve in Gallup and around the world. The experience made a big impact on his life. “It has been a reaffirmation of my faith and the need for serving those in need.”

Don traveled back to Gallup in October for another two weeks and said Sister Elzeena asked him to return for a week over Easter, which he plans to do.

A lead engineering project specialist at Honeywell FM&T, Don plans to serve full time in his local community and wherever else (like Gallup) as needed when he retires in a few years. He encourages others to consider volunteering with Global Care Force and with the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Gallup, or other locations.

“It’s a great opportunity to serve others, some from different cultures and ethnicities, away from your local community.”

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