Family Tradition

Encounter at Catholic Charities


For many individuals, the journey from volunteering to becoming a staff member within an organization is a testament to dedication, passion, and a deep commitment to a cause.

This transition becomes even more meaningful when it spans across generations, evolving into a cherished family tradition.

If you would indulge me, I would like to share a bit about my family’s commitment to volunteerism.

It has been passed down through multiple generations, culminating in the transformation from volunteer to staff member.

Volunteering often serves as the first step towards understanding and embracing the values upheld by an organization.

It provides individuals with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the mission and objectives and gain firsthand experience of the impact created by their efforts.

For many families, volunteering becomes a shared activity, fostering bonds and instilling a sense of responsibility towards community service from an early age.

Our family’s involvement with Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri spans three generations.

It all began with my dad Dan Muessig, who started volunteering for the organization delivering Senior Food Boxes.

To help prevent food insecurity for seniors in the community, Catholic Charities participates in a USDA program in partnership with The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and the Jefferson City Housing Authority to deliver food to seniors within Cole County.

Dad’s dedication and passion for volunteerism inspired me to follow in his footsteps.

We have both spent hours volunteering in various capacities such as delivering food boxes, stocking shelves in the Food Pantry and assisting neighbors as they shop the client-choice food pantry.

During my time as a volunteer, my connection to Catholic Charities deepened, compelling me to pursue a full-time role.

Months of service paved the way for this transition to the organization’s staff, where I could continue my passion of service by fostering more meaningful interactions with clients and neighbors.

This evolution from volunteer to staff member opened an avenue to serve in a more profound capacity.

I have been asked why I chose to volunteer.

Two things come to mind. The first is the passage, “We love him because he first loved us,” (1 John 4:19) which I hear as we serve because He first served us.

The second, as Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof sang, “Tradition!”

These two quotes encapsulate the values with which I was raised.

Service stems from a reciprocal relationship of love and care. 

Our family’s journey did not end there.

Inspired by her family’s legacy of service and her school requirement of 50 service hours for graduation, my daughter Audrey joined in volunteering for Catholic Charities Food Pantry at the early age of 16.

She continues the family tradition of service and stewardship, participating in the services offered by the organization.

Once Audrey’s school service requirements were fulfilled, she enjoyed volunteering so much that she chose to continue volunteering in lieu of a summer job.

The transition from volunteer to staff member symbolizes more than just career progression; it embodies a shared commitment to faith in action, which has been passed down through generations.

Our story highlights the transformative power of volunteerism and the profound impact it can have on individuals, families and communities alike.

We are not alone in our journey.

Across the globe, countless families share similar stories of multi-generational involvement in volunteer work, each one contributing to the fabric of society in their own unique way.

These families serve as a reminder of the enduring power of service and the importance of passing down values of compassion, empathy and civic responsibility to future generations.

For more information or to volunteer with Catholic Charities of Central and Northeast Missouri, visit or call 573-635-7719.