I Am A Community Organizer

I am a community organizer.

I know it doesn’t sound like such a great job and it doesn’t pay too much. It’s not like announcing you are a lawyer, or a principal, or a surgeon. People in my line of work rarely get appointed to boards or elected to council or nominated for office. But I like it and hope to stay at it for a few more years.

What do I do, you ask?

Last week, I help organize the lunch that fed a family in grief. Their father had died and because most of them were from out of town, we organized a meal and gave them a large, clean room in which to meet.

Sunday night I organized a book club—or at least we had a book-reading and book-signing. We held it in a neighborhood eatery. It wasn’t a fancy place but fifty people came and most of us bought something to eat or drink. The folks bought 25 books from the author and that was good, too. I like helping authors.

Somebody presented me yesterday with an idea. “I want to do something to help adult, mentally-challenged people. I have a 22-year old son who lives in an adult care facility, but he is bored.” I liked his idea and immediately began thinking of what we could do to help this population. “Stop by my office,” I said, “and I will help you get it started.”

That’s what community organizers do, you know—help people get things started to help other people.

Last year a man in our group organized a food service. It is run by a man and his wife in Georgia. They are community organizers also. They buy food at wholesale prices and truck it to community centers all over the country. I run one of these community centers and on the fourth Saturday of every month the food comes in, volunteers from our neighborhood gather to unload it and distribute it to families who have placed an order and paid the costs. Last month we fed almost 500 families.

I do other things as well: a good bit of teaching, tonight an hour of listening to a troubled teen-ager, next week gathering up folks for a community hay ride, and—right now, writing this blog.

But mostly, I am a community organizer. My picture is not in the paper, like the mayor or the basketball coach. But what I do is important; it makes a difference; it contributes to a more humane, more pleasant environment. I like it. It is a calling, a vocation.

People call me reverend and out on the board in front of the church my title is Pastor. But mostly, I am a community organizer.

P.S. Somebody reminded me: Jesus was a community organizer while Pontius Pilate was a governor.



1 comment so far

  1. Villager on

    Excellent post! I have a list of blogs that participated in the ‘Day of Blogging for Justice: Community Organizers’. I’m adding this post to the list today…

    peace, Villager

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