Getting More Than We Give

June 14, 2024

On most Tuesday mornings, you can expect to meet volunteers Brenda and Gary at Roof Above’s Resource Center, located on the Day Services Center campus. On any given day, more than 35 people may sign up at the Resource Center to receive assistance with obtaining identification documents, prescriptions, or food vouchers.

Brenda has been managing the front desk for seven years, greeting everyone who enters with a smile. She answers questions and helps decide who neighbors should meet with, depending on their needs. Brenda says, “I like getting to know the people and their stories. Everybody’s got a story; some good, some bad. But everybody’s got a story. It dispels what you think about people experiencing homelessness.”

Gary has served as a Resource Center volunteer for 10 years, meeting one-on-one with neighbors to connect them with resources, such as food bank vouchers, prescription-cost assistance, and more. Gary is a social worker in the hospital’s emergency department. He says he decided to volunteer at Roof Above because “I was sending people over here. I figured I might as well help out since I was adding to the workload.”

Brenda likes that the Resource Center is solution-driven, and she appreciates the instant gratification that comes with some of the tasks, such as helping someone with transportation to a medical appointment.

Gary says, “I like the clientele. Some folks have come back through here to say, ‘Oh, what you told me worked.’ I know my time here is not in vain.”

Both have big hearts for the work of ending homelessness.

Gary says, “People think I’m helping them, but they’re actually helping me when I see them accomplish things and hear their stories.”

Brenda agrees. She says, “You get a lot more than you give. It keeps things in perspective.”

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