The Day I Lived United

That’s me, fourth from the left, with other Day of Action volunteers at the Christian Service Center.

My name is Maria and I am an intern with Heart of Florida United Way’s Marketing & Communications Department.  Over the past few weeks I have had some wonderful opportunities to learn and experience new things, but none has been more fulfilling than my United Way Day of Action project at the Christian Service Center’s Daily Bread program.  

Joining with other community volunteers, interns and United Way staff, I slipped an apron over my LIVE UNITED t-shirt, accessorized with plastic gloves and got down to work serving a noontime meal to more than 500 people in need. It was all part of a daily tradition dating back to 1975 when the organization set a goal that no Central Floridian would ever struggle with hunger.

Thankful for a Meal
As the people poured in and paused for a prayer of thanks, I was struck by the people that waited in this long line for a meal. There were people of different races, backgrounds, ages, etc. I also noticed many families with children happy to have a meal. No matter what, they were all thankful to have a meal that day.

It felt so good to help and hear people’s thanks as they received warm, nourishing meals prepared with food donated through Second Harvest Food Bank, local hotels, restaurants and grocery stores. As someone who has worked in restaurants for many years, it was great to see surplus food being put to such a good, purposeful use.

Lessons Learned
Start to finish, my entire visit lasted 90 minutes, but the lessons of that day will last much longer. One of the biggest things I learned is that you don’t need a lot of time to volunteer, just an open heart and desire to help.

To see photos from this and other United Way Day of Action projects, click here. If you’d like to volunteer with the Christian Service Center, or other United Way partner agencies, click here.

Maria Wyatt-Uhl
Heart of Florida United Way Intern
University of Central Florida



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