"Would anyone like a cup of coffee?" has become a common question at the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) Johnson Volunteer House.
My housemate Lenore, a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast, always seems to know when I most need a caffeine boost. And it is needed often. On early mornings when even getting out of bed seems an insurmountable task, the question is more than just a kind offer. It is an encouragement that I can accomplish my goals for the day. It's a reminder that I am not alone in service.
"Can I make you a cup of tea?"
Tea has a way to soothe not only the body, but also the soul. For my volunteer community, tea has become a way to show love. From brewing a cup of chamomile tea for a sick housemate to sitting late into the night with a cup of black tea while having a conversation, it's a drink that makes you feel at ease and balanced.
"I'm making hot chocolate. Would you like some?"
Recently, my housemates and I discovered a packet of Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate tablets in the back of our cabinet. We were instantly hooked on the drink. Now, it is a popular choice to warm up with after a cold day of service. Preparing it is a way to provide comfort to our CAP family after a successful day of service here in Appalachia.
There's something extremely caring and personal about receiving a hot beverage from a friend. It's such a simple act: All you have to do is boil water, add your drink, and maybe throw in some sugar and milk. But the act of preparing a beverage for someone you care about shows extraordinary love.
The willingness of my housemates to share coffee, tea, or hot chocolate with one another exemplifies one of my favorite parts of community living - the constant support system that it provides. Not just for the big things, but for small, seemingly insignificant things as well. As CAP volunteers, we have devoted a year of our lives to the service of people in need in Appalachia. We are here to ease suffering, repair homes, and share God's love with others. And that doesn't just apply to our participants: Through both large and small actions, my housemates and I are able to show God's love with one another, as well. It may just seem like a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, but for me it means the world.
Kathryn Branham is a One-Year volunteer and AmeriCorps member serving in CAP's Summer Camp program. If you want to learn more about volunteering with CAP, email email@example.com.