Amber Harris: The best way to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is by helping those in need

Amber Harris, 30, is called to offer the community aid by her Christian ideologies. “I think it’s important to volunteer because as a Christian, God has called me to humbly serve others in love,” she said. “Volunteering and serving at SC3 has allowed me that opportunity.”

She actively works with the Nonprofit organization, Sulphur Christian Community Coalition (SC3), which provides an array of volunteer events and services such as an annual golf tournament, the SC3 Jambalaya Community Cook-Off and Auction, Community Christmas, Christmas store and, recently, a warming center.

The six tenets of SC3 are: Hope Ignited, Hearts Redeemed, Hands Empowered, Minds Renewed, Lives Transformed and Everything Restored. Harris makes active efforts, such as helping organize the Jambalaya Cook-Off or gathering Christmas presents, to live by these principles. These actions align with her belief system. “One of the Bible’s most repeated commands is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

In addition to her religion, Harris was taught to be a volunteer through the help of her family. Growing up, she witnessed examples of altruistic behavior that shaped her. “My parents modeled the importance of serving and giving back while growing up.” It was important to her to carry these habits into adulthood.

The best way to “love your neighbor as yourself” is by helping those in need in whatever way you can, she said. By taking the time to help those that are most in need, Harris believes you are embodying the teachings of Christianity. “Jesus also tells us that when we care for those who are hungry, sick or poor, we are serving him.”

This is true everywhere, but it is especially prevalent in Southwest Louisiana. After several hurricanes, unprecedented weather events, COVID-19 and an unstable economy, many locals have found themselves in a place of need. “Southwest Louisiana has been through so much in the last few years,” she said.

For Harris, it is vital to put positive energy into a community after being given a helping hand in times of hardship. “I think we’ve all needed and received help at some point, so it’s important to give back to others in our community.”

The best way to be altruistic is to utilize what already surrounds you. “To me, volunteerism means using and giving your gifts, talents, passions, time, resources and the like to a greater cause,” she explained. “If you love to cook, cook a meal or teach a cooking class. If you’re good at a certain subject, tutor some kids.”

She wants all current and future volunteers to think outside the box while they plan altruistic activities. “Get creative! It’s hard work, but it can be fun.”

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