VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Erin Hern sees a need and fills it

Published 4:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2023

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Erin Hern, who coordinates Christmas Day meals for first responders.

Hern is a social scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She is a graduate of Vicksburg High School and Mississippi State University. Hern has been married to Chris Hern for the past 20 years. Together they have two children and a dog named Paige. 

How did you start coordinating the Christmas Day meals for first responders?

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My best friend lives in Starkville,  and she started doing the same thing there 10 years ago after a conversation with her daughter. After I watched her organize it for one year, I realized how easy it would be to do the same thing here. So, I contacted some people I knew at the hospital and the Vicksburg Fire Department, and started a Facebook page and it just took off from there.

How long have you been coordinating the Christmas Day meals for first responders?

This year will be our ninth year of doing the Christmas meal.

What is your favorite memory while serving in this role?

I will say that the gratitude for each and every location we deliver meals to is the best part. They do so much for us all year long and some have to be away from their families at Christmas, so it’s just a small token of our appreciation. But another favorite thing is getting to see people that I don’t always get to see during the year. Even if it’s just a quick hug or hello, getting to see all the smiling faces for a few minutes on Christmas Day is a huge benefit to me personally.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Volunteering is the easiest thing to do. We all have special gifts that can be used in any format, you just have to find avenues that you are passionate about. One of my favorite quotes that I remember often is from the movie “Robots.” “See a need, fill a need.”

What have you learned from this service?

I’ve learned that most people have a giving heart, but they sometimes don’t know where to start. Some people are givers, some are doers and some are both. The world needs all of them but sometimes you just need someone to organize or oversee!

Any additional comments? 

Our Christmas appreciation meal would not be possible without many generous people in our community. It’s one of the main reasons I love Vicksburg so much. We care. We try. We do. See a need, fill a need. 

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.