Understanding Need and Returning The Favor - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Understanding Need and Returning The Favor

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This year Lansing's Volunteers of America served over 114,000 meals to the community to those in need. that's actually up 50 percent from 2008.

Organizers say its crucial around the holidays to provide a hot meal for men, women and children.

Nick Perreault spoke with one volunteer who says it's a special feeling to spend this week serving those in need and he should know.

"He is here a lot, pitching in a lot," said VOA Community Engagement Director Darin Estep.

Robert Morgan says this is his volunteer job, it's unpaid but the ex-marine says its not about money.

"You get to see people in worse situations than yours and you look at theirs and you look at yours,mine's minimal, I can solve mine eventually," Robert Morgan said.

This year, he hopes to eventually find a job that pays, but in 2010it was finding a place to stay aafter losing his job and seeing his unemployment benefits run out.

"You had to start looking for work, since I didn't have a job, this was the best place I went," Morgan said.

For over a year, Morgan slept at the Volunteers of America and with help from the veteran's program he was eventually able to find his own apartment.

But after months of being on his own and no job, Morgan felt he needed to do something constructive, led to a simple question to the head chef at the VOA.

"Hey what's my chances of working here, I don't know go put on an apron," Morgan said.

Robert Morgan Jr. says there was no hesitation at all, when he got the call to put on the apron, he was back in the kitchen happy to give back to those at the Volunteers of America.

"It makes me feel better being on this side of the counter than just getting a meal, going upstairs and watching TV, now I'm doing something, it's constructive."

And Darin Estep from VOA says it's a big help where it's needed most

"The community kitchen is kind of the heart of our programs where there is a sense of community and healing," Estep said.

Healing for those looking for a hot meal and serving them.

"I'm just praying and trusting that eventually down the road, I'll get a job, but I've already had an offer here so,this is cool," Morgan said.

Until that happens, Morgan is glad to be of service to those who were there for him, "It makes you feel good about the place that helped you."

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