A group of participants organiize clothing items.
A group of participants organiize clothing items.
On the morning of June 11, young adult volunteers weeded, tilled, and planted in the community garden, where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown seasonally and provided for free to registered families. The afternoon was spent doing inventory in the Seeds of Service thrift shop, a portion of which will be sold to achieve the objectives of the organization’s community outreach mission.

The day, which saw volunteers from various parishes across the Diocese join together in service and fellowship, was part of a “Service and Social” event sponsored by the Diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and held in Seeds of Service, Brick. The faith-based organization assists and advocates for the sick, poor and needy while collaborating with other community partners.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2022 Service and Social

The event concluded with volunteers attending 4pm Mass in the adjacent Visitation Church and then enjoying a meal together.

The Service and Social event was started four years ago to provide “a casual and relaxed event to serve God’s people and be who God wants us to be,” shared Dan Waddington, diocesan director, Youth and Young Adult Ministries. With various tasks like gardening, doing product inventory, and assisting in the thrift shop, Seeds of Service presents the perfect opportunity to give back to others in need, he said.

“We can help clothe a family, help feed a family, it’s truly incredible. It’s so awesome to be a part of the process. It is truly great to participate in a small piece of giving to someone else, someone we will probably never meet,” Waddington reflected.

Chaselyn Palumbo, 26, a member of St. Catharine - St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake, shared her reasons for participating. “I wanted to meet other young adults in similar faith. I felt why not come out and give back to those in need in the community? It’s nice to be with others who share the same faith and beliefs,” she said. Palumbo hopes to start a Youth Ministry group for high schoolers at her parish.

Shannon DesRochers, a second-grade teacher in St. Joseph School, Toms River, and member of Saint Martha Parish, Point Pleasant, acknowledged, “It’s hard to find those people with the same faith to connect with, and when you do, it’s like finding the missing piece to a puzzle.”

For Sam Shapiro, 23, a parishioner in St. Aloysius, Jackson, the day was “a good opportunity to give back,” and he was happy to be part of the event as he assisted in various activities.

Seeds of Service director, Christie Winters, explained that the organization is a full-service operation from feeding and clothing the poor, to employing young adults with special needs and fostering job preparedness, to generating funds to help in various community outreach efforts.

Their latest ecommerce initiative for the thrift store utilizes new software to inventory products and either sell to the public or donate to registered families in need. Young adults struggling with special needs, disabilities, or at-risk behaviors are trained on the software and “given independence and confidence and the skills to work for other companies” explained Winters.

Winters expressed her appreciation for the young adult volunteers, saying, “From a faith perspective, it is so nice to be surrounded by adults with faith and share in [God’s] love. We’re blessed to have them.”

For more information on Seeds of Service, visit www.seedsofservice.help.