When It's About More Than the Money

When It's About More Than the Money

"We all have our gifts, or that thing that makes our hearts beat and satisfies our souls." -Kara Ludlow

Have you ever considered infusing volunteerism into your family traditions?

Even though Kara Ludlow is a registered dietician nutritionist, she has found that her passion for feeding the hungry isn't about the money. In "Closing Resume Gaps One Sandwich at a Time," she chronicles how the work, paid and unpaid, that she's pieced together over the years as a Navy spouse has come together to form a family legacy.

"Frustrated and depleted of confidence in myself as a nutrition professional, a perspective shift changed everything. I sat in church one morning, skimming over the bulletin. My eyes locked on a volunteer opportunity. A little spark inside me—one I thought had been extinguished—ignited. Volunteers were needed to take pumpkin pies to the weekly dinner at a local park to feed the homeless community. Of course! I didn’t need to wait for proper employment to feed hungry people. My kids and I flung cans of pumpkin and puffs of flour all over the kitchen, then delivered the pies to the weekly dinner, thrilled to have played a small role.

Employment in the nutrition field may unfold once again for me. Or maybe it won’t. And that’s okay. It turns out, it was never about the money. We all have our gifts, or that thing that makes our hearts beat and satisfies our souls. That ache inside me to feed hungry people is not dependent upon employment status or bound by duty station. There are opportunities all around and right in front of me. Once my eyes were opened to the numerous chances our family had to feed hungry people right in our own local community, we jumped right in. Since then, we’ve served dinner in a transitional home and assembled hundreds of sandwiches in sack lunches for people working to get back on their feet.

Once, we took a taco bar with all the fixings to serve at a group home in San Diego, and I was so nervous about getting the Mexican food right as a newbie to the area. My husband flipped tortillas on the griddle, I manned the slow-cooker beans, and the kids served up brownies and water. My fears dissipated as I looked into the faces of men, grateful for a hot meal as they figured out their next steps in life. I saw myself in the women’s eyes, tired from mothering while uncertainty loomed. The happiest of all were the children, our repeat customers at the brownie station, making my own kids smile because they would have done the same thing. It didn’t matter that our tortillas were not authentically made with masa and lard. The right way, I’ve learned. It only mattered that we showed up with open hearts and willing hands. That’s it."

To continue reading Kara's inspiring story, get your copy of Volume V here today. To download the complimentary art printable, sign up below!

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