In 2013, Lori Manning walked into Crossings Community Church for the Divorce Care group not knowing seeking help for herself and her three daughters would turn 180 degrees into helping others. Manning and her daughters attended Divorce Care and LifeTools to aid them in their recovery, as she was going through a divorce. As time passed and Manning became familiar with the message of Crossings, she and her daughters then immersed themselves in volunteering.
“The timing was right for me,” explained Manning. “It was helpful and healing to do good things for others while going through the divorce.” Manning’s first volunteer role was helping with a Habitat for Humanity house. From there, she moved into being a pizza helper for the Middle School Ministry and later helped in the Heart Song class for special needs children. She and her daughters also volunteered at the Family Mart event during Christmas at the Community Center.
Whenever the opportunity allows, Manning’s daughters, ages 9, 12, and 14, volunteer with their mother. “Volunteering has allowed my daughters to have a servant’s heart. They are always looking for opportunities to help others. It is part of who they are,” explained Manning.
Currently, Manning and her daughters teach quarterly cooking classes (geared toward patients with heart conditions and diabetes) at the Community Center with a goal of teaching cooking for a healthy lifestyle. Working as a registered dietitian, she feels this is a great way to incorporate her skills into volunteering.
As a single mom with three daughters active in sports, Manning understands a busy schedule. She strays away from weekly opportunities because her schedule is so hectic, but this has not stopped her from finding other opportunities that fit right into her busy life. She encourages others to volunteer saying, “There is always something that fits. It’s extremely easy to get involved, and it makes such a big church seem small.”
Manning and her girls attended the recent Urban Plunge event looking for more way to get plugged into the community. After attending, they decided to begin serving at the BritVil Food Pantry.
“I have three thriving daughters and it has been such a blessing to see that our way of healing by serving and keeping focused on faith actually worked,” said Manning. She always believed by serving others she was coping with her issues in a healthy way. Clearly God has His hand in the lives of this family as they continue to touch others through their faithful service.
“Finding Strength in Serving” originally published by Suzanne Chew, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team member.