Volunteering: Coordinator for local homeless shelter

Posted by on May 31, 2012 at 6:00 am.

July 2012, I’ll officially take on the role as homeless shelter coordinator for my Lutheran church. 

It’s a volunteer position, and it’s something I’m really excited about. 

I enjoy volunteering  since I’m in direct contact with the people who benefit from the services; it also gives me a chance to engage and learn more about them. If I desire to be Christ like, at times I need to step out of my comfort zone, and do things I normally wouldn’t do. Interacting with those at the homeless shelter isn’t new to myself, since I was introduced to the ministry when I was eight years old.

The church my parents attend also had a similar ministry. I can still remember that the children’s Sunday school group, sang at the Baltimore Rescue Mission; this was around Christmas time. Initially I was nervous, some of the guests looked “strange,” but I soon realized they were people too, and I shouldn’t treat them any differently. My parents were helpful with that. At that age, I determined when I got older; I would somehow be involved with the homeless. Throughout my adult life, the way I’ve done this is volunteering at homeless shelters.

Regarding the new position, I have a lot of ideas, and am eager to discuss them with others on the servanthood committee, to get their feedback. I must say that I’m impressed with my Lutheran church. At times, some people assume that groups that are church based are disorganized. Not so at my church, outside of the obvious Christian message, the meetings I’m attending are no different from the ones I attended in the corporate world. My church definitely believes in having things done decently and in order.

The ministry isn’t new to myself, since I’ve been volunteering with this current local homeless shelter, since I learned about the ministry in January 2012. Before that time, I was going downtown to assist. It’s nice to be part of a church that has several ministries available to those who attend the church. I also volunteer with the food pantry, and the quilting group. About five years ago, if you were to tell me that I’d be this actively involved with a church, I would have told you that you were nuts!  Although I’ve always tried to be nice to others, and was always involved with outreach ministries. I was doing that on my own, since for many years I stopped going to church.

One of the many things I love about my Lutheran church is that they put their faith in action. So yes, there are numerous ministries made available for those who truly want to serve.

Getting active, doesn’t always mean you have to give money to an organization. There are other ways to help… 

These ministries require only a few hours of my time each month to serve others. The challenge that many volunteer groups face, is finding people willing to make the time. Many of us spend hours weekly/monthly doing things we want to do, how many of us take the time to help others?

There are a lot of people right here in the United States that are suffering; especially with our current economy.  Sometimes people simply need to know that there are those who care about them. At times, people get so caught up in our fast paced society, that they forget to be compassionate towards those who are less fortunate.

11 Comments

  • Teeni says:

    Good for you. I know this will be as rewarding for you as it is for those you help out. Is this the “founding member” activity you mentioned? I am excited to see you get to put some of your ideas into action. And I agree with everything you mentioned. It’s easy to think of others around the holidays when all the songs mention things like good will to others, etc. But there are people who need help all year round. And it’s not all about giving money – time is needed as well as action. 🙂

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    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Teeni, I’m excited about the opportunity. Yes some people need help throughout the year.

    Is this the “founding member” activity you mentioned?

    No that would be the multicultural ministry. I’ve written about it in an offhand sort of way when I was commenting on segregation within churches. That was on Facebook. I never understood that line of thinking. It’s nice to be part of a church that doesn’t understand that either. Since Christ reached out to everyone, regardless of (fill in the blank). We should do the same. 😉

    It’s something common in all churches, so no race has a monopoly on segregation only services. 😉 Many are churches are guilty of that. I’m guessing many haven’t even stepped back and thought about it, so it’s our hope to make others aware, and think of ways to change that.

    Recognize and respect everyone’s abilities, not the fact that they are a certain race. Just because you might be of the same ethnicity, you can’t automatically assume you will get along with them. 🙂

    At times, I think separating people by their race can be a bit divisive. As in “those folks are so different because they are this race”. Which is why you won’t see any “Black folks post” on my site. I don’t celebrate Black History Month. Ever wonder, why other minority races don’t have their own month? I know I have… Blacks weren’t the only ones enslaved.

    I’ve met a lot of people via this site, and I do recognize them. Just because they happen to be Black like me, doesn’t mean I have to highlight that. Their race is a nonissue. I’m spotlighting them for other reasons.

    You know teenie… you always have a way to get me off topic, lol. 😉 Which, in this case, is a good thing. 😉
    Opal recently posted..The Night Shift and knitting; stockinette scarf update

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  • Karen says:

    congratulations! this should be satisfying work for you.
    Karen
    Karen recently posted..Sometimes –

    [Reply]

    Opal Reply:

    Thanks @Karen, Yes, it does seem like a perfect fit for me. 😉
    Opal recently posted..The Night Shift and knitting; stockinette scarf update

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  • DragonLady says:

    That is so great! My husband has been part of our church’s food pantry ministry for nearly as long as we have been going there, which means I am part of it too. He’s actually on the committee (& became chairman this year), and I just help out when/where he needs help which is usually just helping with distribution on the 3rd Saturday after Men’s Breakfast.
    DragonLady recently posted..“Get your motor running…”

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    Opal Reply:

    Congrats to your hubby @DragonLady,
    It’s such a rewarding ministry isn’t it? This year I’ll be donating produce from our garden to our church’s food pantry. With our food pantry, I help out on the 4th Saturday of each month. I first agreed out of curiosity, I don’t remember doing those before. But I stayed, because I’m enjoying it immensely.
    Opal recently posted..Knitting a Hogwarts scarf for my Dad…

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  • Teeni says:

    Hi Opal! I am sorry I get you off topic sometimes but I do like the way you think and feel like we share a lot of the same ideas as far as how we treat others, so I do enjoy hearing what you have to say. 🙂
    xoxoxo

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    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Teeni,
    No need to apologize… you’re just one of the folks that make me think of different ideas/approaches; I like that; it’s inspiring!. 🙂
    Opal recently posted..Social studies; last big project is done

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  • Susan Bewley says:

    Its so great seeing others who are willing to help in their community. There are a lot of people in our world suffering. I spent years volunteering in homeless shelters teachings adults how to read and working with special needs kids. These are the people who are usually hurt the most by a bad economy and most of these people don’t want sympathy, but help.
    Susan Bewley recently posted..Vegetarian Recipes: Marscarpone Spinach Delight

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    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Susan Bewley, Oh you definitely understand, and how rewarding that must be to help educate those in need. Thanks for doing that. 🙂

    You’re quite right, many don’t want sympathy. Several of them hate that they have to depend on others for things we take for granted.

    Although we shouldn’t have to “humanize the homeless” I’ve found that sometimes I do, if I want to get some people to pay attention to them.
    Opal recently posted..Crochet: Scraptastic hat update; pattern test complete

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