Volunteer of the Week: Sam Godfrey lives out Christ’s command

Published 11:38 pm Sunday, December 17, 2023

This week’s Volunteer of the Week is Sam Godfrey. Godfrey is originally from Natchez. He married his wife Patty, who teaches at Warren Central High School, while they were in law school at Ole Miss. They have one child who lives in the Los Angeles area.

Godfrey practiced law in Natchez and Woodville until entering seminary at the University of the South at Sewanee. The first church he served was Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Como. The Godfreys were in Como for 14 years, before moving to Vicksburg in 2011. Since June 2011, Sam has been serving as rector of Christ Episcopal Church.

How did you begin volunteering?
I learned from my parents and my faith about volunteering. The Anglican priest and poet John Donne wrote those memorable words, “No man is an island.” In that, he writes, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind . . .” The people of Christ Church have heard me say, “Because I am involved in mankind,” we seek to feed the hungry, help the poor and reach out to the world in need. Two of the first places I volunteered in Vicksburg were the Community Storehouse Food Pantry and Good Shepherd Community Center. Christ Church helped begin the pantry and I was involved in feeding ministries in Natchez. I started as an after-school tutor at Good Shepherd. The church I served in Como helped begin a reading program at the local elementary school.

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How long have you been volunteering?
I have been volunteering with the Food Pantry and Good Shepherd almost since we moved to Vicksburg. I have helped with some of the other ministries, mainly serving on boards. I am currently serving as President of the Rotary Club of Vicksburg.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering?
There are so many good memories it would be hard to pin down a favorite. Helping people; spending time talking with people – those we help and fellow volunteers; and working with other volunteers have all provided enriching experiences that make me want to continue sharing this time.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?
Vicksburg amazes me both with the number of ministries available in which to serve and the number of volunteers who give generously of their time and financial support. The theologian Frederick Buechner wrote, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” I have heard that paraphrased as “Ministry is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” The opportunities and the need are here. Pray and find your passion for service. And if the first one does not work out, keep trying.

What are some of your tasks while volunteering?
At the Food Pantry, I mainly help out where needed, whether that is packing bags of food, helping keep the shelves stocked, or working the desk with intake. There, and elsewhere, so much of volunteering is just showing up and being available. Sometimes that help is just answering an email or phone call and being a listening board.

What have you learned from volunteering?
Many people in Vicksburg could be nominated for Volunteer of the Week. I am awed by so many who do so much for their neighbors, known and unknown. Our community is blessed.

How can someone else who might be interested in volunteering get involved?
At the Food Pantry, we are located at Traveler’s Rest Baptist Church on Bowmar Avenue. The pantry is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. until noon. Thursday we are open from 5 until 6 p.m. Just show up. Good Shepherd Community Center is on Cherry Street. Give them a call and ask, or again, just show up. And thank you.

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