Over the last 3.5 years, I’ve walked past the local homeless shelter close to 2,400 times. Yep – twice a day for over 3 years. Probably 30% of the time, I’d think about how I’d like to volunteer there, get to know the people running the shelter and donate some of my
piles of stuff belongings. I had some trepidation – I’m a young, single female. I’d (likely) be volunteering alone. I had images of unkept, unruly men who could pose a threat to me. These things made me fearful enough that I let a long time go by without acting on my desire to get involved. Because, frankly, they are all true.
Earlier this fall, I wrote about my decision to conquer my fear. I never looked back and I am so thankful!
The first time I volunteered at the shelter (as a single female, alone and with a bunch of grown men – yes, all my fears came true!), I was nervous. I didn’t really know how to interact at first with the homeless clients. I didn’t know how to be helpful.
This hesitation only lasted about 5 minutes before I had enough! Goodness knows I hate feeling useless. So, I started organizing bedding, handing out toiletries, and prepared the kitchen to serve dinner. I was lucky enough to have two other volunteers there to show me the ropes and calm my nerves a bit.
By the time dinner arrived, I was at ease, comfortable in my surroundings and ready to serve the food (with a confident smile). I learned their names, their pizza topping preference and left that night with a grin. I’ve been back a few times (and headed there this evening) and it hasn’t failed to be the highlight of my day, my weekend, and possibly an entire week.
I wholeheartedly believe in these words:
Giving of yourself – your time, your treasures, your talents and perhaps most importantly, your attention – creates a ripple effect throughout your world, the world of those you touch and continues on and on. I can’t think of a better use of my time.