Volunteer Profile: Traci

My name is Traci Parson. I am a mother of 5 with a Bachelors Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I worked at a school for children with special needs and then at an early intervention program before becoming a full-time mom!

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AT LHI?
I am the Assistant Director for the Utah program. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to run the Utah warehouse where we receive and then prepare all donations for shipment to various countries to help refugees. I see all of the contributions that come in from all over the country and it never ceases to amaze me the generosity of people. We are sending more than just humanitarian aid. We are sending a message of love, hope, and peace.

WHAT IS A DAY OF VOLUNTEERING AT LHI LIKE FOR YOU?
Well, I spend a great part of every day on emails, texts, phone calls, and in person contacts with everyone who reaches out to us to help accomplish this great effort to show love and support to refugees across the sea. This is one of my favorite parts of my day because I love connecting with people and seeing their desire to help and their love for others. I’ll also spend time coordinating with some of our 31 outstanding drop-off location volunteers throughout the state as they bring in donations. They are the ones who help make our Utah program successful and far-reaching. I’ll also go over to the warehouse and spend the day with our incredible supervisors and volunteers who work tirelessly sorting and boxing donations. There, we make sure our shipments are packed carefully and accurately to get through customs. I love being in the warehouse, the work we do there, the people we meet who come in to volunteer with us, and the feeling you have while you’re there.  Then I’ll work on paperwork for our shipment. I work closely with our amazing HHRD partners to work out details regarding the shipment (lists of items to ship, procedures, documentation, etc) to make sure everything runs smoothly from the time items are donated and boxed up, to the time they reach the hands of those receiving them. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful, dedicated team of volunteers here in Utah and across the country that makes this all possible.

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WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INVOLVED WITH LHI?
I found myself with time on my hands during the day so I began to volunteer in my community for Meals on Wheels, local food banks, etc. which was awesome and I loved it! Then one day I saw a picture of Aylan Kurdi, a young Syrian refugee child, lying dead on a beach, and it shattered my heart and forever changed everything for me. I knew I needed to help refugees in some way. I searched for an organization near me that helped refugees but struggled to find one until I finally came across Lifting Hands International. I have been volunteering for them ever since. I had been lamenting all the evil and darkness in the world, and I came across this quote that said, “Do not despair…Never forget that amidst
all the awful circumstances that you may see, if you look, you will always find the good. Where suffering shows its persistent face, heroes always rise.” LHI were those heroes. And I wanted to help them.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE VOLUNTEERING WITH LHI?
I have learned that there are so, so many loving, generous people in this world who are ready and willing to give what they have to serve their fellow man. Individuals, families, children and adults, businesses, school groups, organizations, scouts, and members of many different religious groups. I meet them every single day. And it is an honor.

THANK YOU, TRACI!