“We are called to ‘serve one another through love,’ to care for our brothers and sisters, to love every inch of the earth, and to give where we can,” says Codi-Alyssa Southerland. Codi was a ministry leader for Ronald McDonald House and both a ministry leader and an active member of Oak City Cares. She goes to the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia every year typically too. “My heart drives me to serve, but my faith guides me on how to serve. Faith reminds us that everything builds from love and everyone should be cared for with love.” One thing that stands out in Codi’s mind is a memory from a trip to the St. Francis Inn. She was sweeping the street, she recalls, and says, “I was speaking to a group of men who spent the night laying on the sidewalk. Our conversation lasted longer than my chore, so I sat close to them to finish our talk. When I saw one of the men at dinner again later that evening, I spoke to him and asked him about his day.” That’s when she remembers being struck by the impact of a simple personal connection. “He informed me that I was the first person to ask about his day and the only person to smile at him all day.” Now she makes it a point to share a smile with everyone, no matter how busy she is or how bad her day’s been. “It’s always rewarding to me to get those smiles back and hear those stories.”
When asked how St. Francis of Assisi Parish models service towards the community, she jokes, “I could write a novel on this! Our community is home. Not just home to us but home to everyone. Our people are loving and inviting, and our doors are always open.” She highlights that St. Francis encompasses the idea of ‘loving everyone’ and displays it loudly. “We teach through our actions,” Codi emphasizes.
She feels that volunteering at St. Francis only takes the ability to ‘just go for it.’ She encourages new parishioners to talk to someone and figure out what would be a good fit.
There are a lot of lovely men and women that are pillars of our community and ready to take you under their wing at any given time; you just simply have to take the initiative.
There’s a ministry and an opportunity for every person with every ability; She enthusiastically adds, “We’d love to have you join us!”