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Sarah Kirkman

I have always known that it is important to volunteer and to give back to the community. Because of that, I have volunteered over the years in Rotary projects and church projects, and other people in my office have volunteered as well. But we had never volunteered together as an office. That is, until the International Day of Service on Sept.11, 2019. That was the day that we decided to perform a community service project together, as an office.

Our first project was to donate to and volunteer with Iredell Christian Ministries in Statesville. On that Wednesday morning, a group of us from the office took our donations over and proceeded to work at various tasks. First, we stocked the pantry, taking donated food items and putting them on the pantry shelves according to food type so that they could be easily identified and used.

Then some of my staff worked one-on-one with the clients at Iredell Christian Ministries, helping them to select the items that they needed. And some of us took huge bags of flour and divided them into smaller Ziplock bags that could be given to clients. It was hard work, and we all felt good when we left.

Next, in October, we donated toiletry items to My Sister’s House Women’s Shelter as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And we made goody bags for cancer patients in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We took the goody bags to Iredell Memorial Hospital and met the kind staff at the Infusion Center.

In November, we served lunch at Fifth Street Ministries. I was not sure how much help we were (although the cooks did seem to appreciate us because they got to concentrate on the food instead of having to cook and serve), but it was truly a blessing to us.

In December, we volunteered at the Mooresville Soup Kitchen. We sorted food, keeping what was still fresh and good, and throwing the rest into barrels that farmers would later collect to feed their animals. Other chores included cleaning off eggs, unloading boxes, cleaning tables and cleaning the bathroom.

In January, we volunteered at the Taylorsville Soup Kitchen. We put food on the plates and served the guests at their tables, and one lucky staff member even got to debone chickens donated by Tyson.

In February, we donated pudding cups to the school backpack program, which gives students backpacks of food to take home over the weekends when they cannot eat at school.

Each experience was unique and rewarding. We got to meet special people who were very patient with us as they explained what our assigned tasks would be. And more importantly, we got to help people in our community.

We have also learned a few things along the way. First, we learned that it feels good to help others. In our line of work, we work with victims every day in the legal arena, but that is our job. This is different. This is more personal; this is lending a hand to people who need it.

Second, we learned that we really are a team, in and out of the courtroom. And we learned that our duty to our community goes beyond our jobs.

Finally, and most importantly, we learned that there are some real heroes out there in our community. And we have only had the opportunity to participate with a few of them! They are working every day to help those less fortunate than they are. They are working every day to make other people’s lives better. They are working every day to make our community better.

When we would finish each one of our volunteer opportunities, our hosts would thank us for our help. But we are the ones who should be thanking them.

So, thank you. Thank you for all that you do in our community. And thank you for letting us be a small part of it.

Sarah Kirkman is the District Attorney for Alexander and Iredell counties.