By: Jenny Thompson

We were never really rich, at least not financially speaking. In fact, I’m pretty sure we qualified for free and reduced lunch the majority of my childhood, but I would have never known it.

You see, my mom believed in serving. She believed that we should all support each other; she believed in community and that it truly takes a village to raise a family. I have distinct memories of serving at the food pantry, peeling potatoes for community Thanksgiving dinners, and dropping our loose change in the red Salvation Army kettles.

It was when I applied for college and filled out the FAFSA that our financial situation dawned upon me. That’s when I began to understand the sacrifices my mother made to help others and lead with a servant’s heart. And it changed my concept of what “rich” meant.

I am who I am today because of my mom and the values she instilled in me. Her actions and love impressed upon me the power of giving back, of collaborating, and of serving regardless of your personal situation, because we always have something that we can share. That something could be time, energy, knowledge, support, and sometimes even money.

Today, I do my best to be an active community member. I love seeing how we can work together to make amazing things happen. That is what gives me joy and meaning, and I have my mom to thank for the many riches I’ve found.

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