A Place To Call Your Own

A Place to Call Your Own

By: Max Groce

This day started out semi-rough. I had not gotten much sleep the night before then I had to be up at 6 to get ready in time to be at the Habitat-for Humanity build site at 7.  I rise out of my bed like a reanimated body and slowly yet surely get ready and make my way out the door. Eventually, I arrive at the corner of N.Third and Chelsea. I recognize the neighborhood from frequent trips to Tigers game at the Pyramid when it was still open. You can still see little parts of blight, but there are large blocks that have been totally redone and look incredibly good. I park my car in front of an abandoned gas station next to the other cars and make my way out of the car into the cold morning air.

I walk up to the sign in table and meet Mary. She tells me what is going on and some background on the house, which finally starts to compute after I get my first cup of coffee down. Mary explains how Habitat for Humanity isn’t just about building houses it’s about buying as well. The whole point is to allow someone to build and own their home; the logic being that if it’s theirs they will take better care of it and they will have more invested into their neighborhoods then if they were just renting. The program helps them get a loan with a very low down payment and no interest at all, but they do have to qualify, put in certain number of hours for financial literacy, and put in a certain number of houses working on the house.  The house were working on today is a one level handicap accessible three bedroom, and it is for an elderly woman who’s wheelchair bound and her granddaughter, Ms. Jessie and Venita Hill. I meet them and Mary tells me how they have been out here every day the house has been worked on rain or snow.

Ms.Jessie Hill (seated) and Venita Hill

It’s about 7:30 and the other volunteers start to arrive from The University of Memphis and Lynnwood.  Mr. Jimmie gathers us up and begins his speech. He talks about how this house is built in seven days only because of help from volunteers and how what we’re doing really is not only making a significant difference in someone else’s life but that we are giving and building somebody a home. That’s what really resonated with me through the whole experience that day. I’m building somebody’s home. A house where they’re going to live for shelter from the elements and the world. It’s a strange feeling and thought to have but it did make me happy to have it.

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After Jimmie’s speech we broke up into teams and followed the more experienced volunteers who assigned us jobs. Mine was painting all the touchup and trim on the outside of house. I painted literally the whole time I was volunteering all the way around the house. I mean I painted all over that house. It would seem monotonous but honestly they gave such a good speech in the beginning that it didn’t seem that way. You really did feel like you were doing something that made a difference. I finished up the last of the trim work and helped clean up the work site. I made my way over to Mary and Jimmy and thanked them for the opportunity and made my way home.  That trip home made me really reflect on what I truly had. I have a home. It’s not big and it’s not fancy, but it’s everything to me.

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Man’s Best Friends

Man’s Best Friends

By: Max Groce

I have been a pet owner all my life and I’m definitely a dog person.  We’ve always had rescues of some kind, so when I was told that I would be working at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County I was very excited. I arrived at around two o’clock at their building out in Shelby farms. When I drove up I was surprised how modern and nice the building looked. I went in trough the intake office where they take pets in. I talked to one of the staff and she led me to Katie who was my coordinator for that day. Katie then gave me a quick orientation on what the Human Society is all about.

Katie informed me how they get mistaken all the time for being Memphis Animal Control which they are not at all. They do some intakes of animals from them but that is about the only business they have with them. She then proceeds to tell me about how it all kind of works. The Humane Shelter only takes in pets that are in life threating condition. She says it’s hard because they have to turn a lot of people away but it’s a must because of their lack of space. She tells me it’s getting harder for most shelters all over Memphis because of the overpopulation. That’s why the recently started project stop, which is a low income qualifying spay and neuter and program, where you can come get your pets spay and neutered and shots as well for the lowest cost in the city. This is what I worked on most of the time I was there.

The one and only Posey

The one and only Posey

Katie then introduced me to Matt; he set me up in an office and I started my work. He started me doing call backs for voice mails left at their office for program stop. I had to call them back verify the information put into an excel format that was already set up and then handle the client. I got at this for about 2 and half hours and it’s actually kind of enjoyable. You feel like you’re actually doing something because you’re talking to people and making sure there still interested and semi getting them set up to help their pets. To make it even better the front office where I was located they had two dogs up there, Posey who was an older fluffy dog who was just as relaxed as she could be. There was also a puppy named Nightwing who I was close to adopting if didn’t already have two monster dogs at home.

Manning the phones

Manning the phones

After I got done doing that Katie came and snatched me up to take me outside to do profiles on some of the new dogs that had arrived.  This was one of my favorite parts and I think it’s everybody’s favorite part who works there. We went out to the dog playgrounds, “which there were several” and the designated dog walkers would bring out different dogs and I would play with them. To be honest, I wasn’t too good at making profiles because I was too distracted by playing with some of the dogs, all of them which were awesome. You could definitely notice how each of them had different personalities.  I think my favorite was a three legged pit-bull named Honey-boo. She wasn’t a year old and she was the most playful and sweet dog I had met that day for sure. I would say that’s one of the greatest benefits of volunteering there, which is an honest appreciation for the work that this organization does. It’s incredibly rewarding to take an animal that had been injured and abused, whether it’s chemical burns or bum leg, and then nurse it back to health where they can experience happiness and joy again. To be given a chance to witness this great organization was and awesome experience in itself.

The best part of my whole day

The best part of my whole day

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as a business analyst. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: mailto:jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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The Measure of Your Work

The Measure of Your Work.

By: Max Groce

To be honest, when I was told that I would be volunteering at the food bank I automatically assumed that it was the Memphis Food Bank.  A lot of people make this association when they hear the Mid-South Food Bank but from what I learned today I was very much mistaken. The Mid-South Food Bank doesn’t just serve the hungry in Memphis; it serves 31 counties in three states. This is not just food pantries either, this includes soup kitchens, shelters, youth and senior programs, rehabilitation and residential centers.

Good People

Good People

I drove to their center on South Dudley Street in the morning; I arrived and was quickly ushered into the boardroom with Ms. Paula and some volunteers from Kellogg’s that were going to be working with me today. Paula quickly filled me in on the history of the Mid-South food bank about how they fed close to 186,500 people last year and how they rely on volunteers for pretty much all the work that is done from the center that we were at.  We walked out into the hallway where we stand waiting for her to start our tour.  I notice a woman facing a huge window in a make shift office out of file cabinets, I ask Paula are most of the people that work here volunteers and she said yes. She tells me that volunteers often offer their special services like the lady by the window who was obviously doing some sort of data base retrieval and scheduling.  She takes through a white door and then when on the main floor of a large warehouse, surrounded by large pallets of food. While she’s taking us through the warehouse, there are people working all around us on forklifts pulling orders for the day. I think about how these orders that they are pulling are going all over the mid-south to feed the hungry.

Dr.Fry getting it done

Dr.Fry getting it done

Paula tells us when you think of food banks you think mostly about nonperishable foods, but the fact that I didn’t know is the Mid-South food bank is one of the only places that can accept fresh produce and meat due to their large refrigerators and freezers. We make it past the ware house to an area that looks like a grocery store and the other volunteers and I start sorting through large crates of food that is called salvage.  I start sorting out cake and hamburger helper while I laugh with the other volunteers about how they’re disappointed that there are not a lot of Kellogg’s products to sort. We put them into carts and then begin to take them and put them on the shelves and slowly try to straighten up the aisles. I do this for about two and half hours and then the Kellogg volunteers leave and I’m not far behind them.

The Food Bank Warehouse

The Food Bank Warehouse

I consider myself a pretty skilled individual, anything you ask me to do I can pretty much do. That’s from helping you paint walls to searching large data bases using semi complex computer programs. But today I learned that its they don’t always need the complex skills, sometimes the most helpful things that you can do is the simplest things, like simply sorting out food for the hungry and putting in on shelves. Paula tells me that this part is almost completely done by volunteers and It makes me reflect on truly every little thing that you do when you volunteer truly does help. I’d like to end this blog with a quote that Paula puts at the end of her emails and that is, “The heart of a volunteer is not measured by size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as a business analyst. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: mailto:jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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Forget Me Not

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Forget Me Not.

By: Max Groce

I think the thought of slowly losing awareness can be scary for anyone. I think maybe even a scarier thought is having someone you love succumb to this type of illness.  Having Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia can be and is often in most cases the most trying and difficult times in a person’s life, and not only for the person going through it but also the person’s loved ones.  It is estimated that in our aging population there are five million people with dementia. Its hard to imagine trying to care for a person with dementia and trying to hold down a job.  Today I volunteered at a place that tries to relieve the ocean of stress that comes with that fight.

I arrived around 9:30 to the Alzheimer’s day services of Memphis location. They call it Dorothy’s Place.  I enter through the sliding doors and Jon quickly introduces himself and he introduces me to some of the staff. Jon is a volunteer coordinator and from working with him today I realize he kind of does a little bit of everything around the facility. He takes me into the conference room to explain to me what they really do. Dorothy’s Place is a Therapeutic Activities Day Program for people suffering from dementia. Their caregiver’s can bring them to Dorothy’s Place for the day, which allows them to go to work or whatever they need to do. They are a Social Service Provider and are manned with several personal care assistants. Jon explained to me how to interact with some of the friends I would make later that day. He then took me on a tour of the grounds and it was pretty amazing.

Cleaning up outside

Cleaning up outside

The facility has everything to make really anybody comfortable but especially people who need extra care.  The first thing they have me do is help clean up their back porch. Jon tells me they use this space in the spring to plant things and that the people there really seem enjoy it. When Jon leads me outside, the area looks like what you expect a backyard entering winter would look like. The back porch is mostly cement with a small garden located in the center with what looks like a half coliseum of stadium seating surrounding it. On the ground there is a mixture of leaves and debris. I take a push broom and begin to make my little piles around the garden while every now and then looking through the large window back at the people inside. I finish up as best I can trying to make it look as best as possible. It’s nice to make it look pretty at least for that little while, so I throw the bag of leaves away and head inside. Next I help some of the staff and friends start to make gift bags for some of their caregiver’s.  I’m amazed at the comfort level the staff has with the people there. There isn’t the separation of patient and nurse, the feel is more like the first day of school and seeing friends that you’ve gone to school with for a long time but you haven’t seen them all summer. Some of the people who are there for care joked with me about stealing crackers out of the bag. It gives me an incredible since of optimism to think that despite the trials that some of these people’s mind has gone through, their since of humor still can pierce through the fog of confusion. After we finished with the bags we went over to another area and I helped them with their exercise by playing with them with large bouncy balls and foam disks. It kind of incredible to watch the reactions that they get when they start to toss the Frisbee around to each other, it truly reminds me of the excitement and joy you find in children.

Getting the bags ready

Getting the bags ready

 

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Lunch Time

Lunch Time

While they finished their exercises I start to help with lunch and pass out mats and silverware. It’s about 12 now and I’m finished, so I say goodbye to the staff and Jon and head home.  I really enjoyed the work I did today at Dorothy’s Place. It makes me happy to know that there’s a place that people who are suffering from a difficult affliction like that can at not only get relief but also have fun and still experience some joy’s in life. People believe that dementia makes someone obsolete but that is not the case in any sense of the word. From what I’ve seen today as long as are there are places like Alzheimer’s Day Services and people like the staff that work there, the desire to help people with dementia to feel and see the joy in life will always be nurtured and protected.

 

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as a business analyst. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: mailto:jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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It’s Good to Get Lost Sometimes

It’s Good to Get Lost Sometimes.

By: Max Groce

 

I have never been to the Metal Museum of Memphis before today, and honestly I had no idea we even had one until a couple months when a friend told me about it. I have to say after today it’s one of the cooler places I’ve been in Memphis. I leave my house at about nine in the morning and start heading toward the Museum, I instantly get lost as I get closer and end up at the Memphis Port but then get back on the right track and finally arrive. You immediately notice when you drive up how tucked away it is on the side of the river bank. You park outside the fenced in buildings and walk through the wrought iron gates and subtly notice commanding works of metal art semi hidden in the gardens lining the paths to the old buildings. The old buildings have an antebellum feel to them in their design and placement being that the whole campus surrounds a courtyard that overlooks a bend in the Mississippi River. I make my way to a white building that is the library and find Michael and Rosie.

Michael quickly introduces himself and tells me about how he did volunteer odyssey too. He tells me how he liked the museum so much he came back to volunteer some more so now he volunteers every Tuesday. We’re in the Museum’s library at the moment, Rosie comes in and introduces herself and takes me on a tour of the grounds.  She explains why the buildings look the way they do is because they were all originally a mercantile marine hospital. This explains the eerily spooky abandon hospital in the background of the museum. She shows me to the Metal shop and where they have their blast furnace and the black smiths are working away making repairs I imagine. The shop looks like a black smith shop would like in your head, it’s semi shaded, everything looks burned and it smells like a mixture of ash and burning iron. Kevin one of the smiths introduces himself and tells me a little about the shop. Rosie then shuffles me back to the library with Michael where we get to work with what will be doing that day. Our goal was to move a large book shelf out and move a glass class book shelf in, but before we moved the other shelf in we were going to paint the room.

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Michael and I start to organize the bookcase; I take his lead because he seems to have a better idea of where things are supposed to go. We move the shelf out and then we go into a back room on the top floor where I start to see some things that really interest me. The back room is filled with old books. I mean really old, like some more then 100 years old. Their bindings are delicate and aged and they paper is all stained from time. We start moving the folios out of the glass book case and as we do I start to look at all them more closely and I find an awesome book called “A Farmer’s Guide to Explosives” which Michael and I laugh at. I see a small little book that looks to be old, as I open up it turns out to be a journal completely filled with very small handwriting. It starts to blow my mind how much knowledge about blacksmithing and metal art work is in this place. There’s seems enough that even if civilization was to collapse but the library remained intact, we wouldn’t lose our knowledge of smiting and metal work. We would still have not only all these guides but written suggestions and sketches from people through the years to still to guide us.

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We finish up with moving the books and begin to tape off the edges around the room were about to paint. Before we start we go have lunch downstairs. Michael tells me how he lived in England for a long time and is a Medieval History major and Rosie tells me about how she is an art history major. We talk about the job market and the cool things you get to do while volunteering through volunteer odyssey. When lunch is done, Michael and I go back up stairs and begin to paint. I put my iPhone on Pandora and start.  We don’t talk for a while, but it doesn’t feel awkward, it feels Zen like. I just paint the library listening to the music, every now and then hearing people walk through the museum upstairs on the hardwood floors. Michael and I joke about the differences between fans in the SEC west and before we know it the majority of the room is complete.  I say goodbye to Rosie and Michael and go and sign out. Before I leave I walk through the courtyard.  It’s a little after mid-afternoon and sun is starting to reflect off the Mississippi River. It feels brisk outside; you think it should be hot but the breeze off the water makes it feel perfect.  I walk up to the patio that on the edge of the courtyard and look at the river for a second, I take a picture and realize how pictures really don’t do certain situations justice. After reflecting on the day I have to say I truly enjoyed my time volunteering at the Metal Museum today.

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Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as a business analyst. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: mailto:jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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Once More Into The Breach

Poverty or destitution by definition refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, such as water, food, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. In my opinion, poverty is man’s greatest enemy because it’s seems to be inversely proportional with our achievements. Astounding breakthroughs in technology that increase our efficiency inadvertently make essential people dispensable, creating a cycle of hardship related to our progress that seems indefinite. Sometimes it’s just the way the dice roles, most people are one tragedy from being completely drained financially, whether is your car breaks down or someone becomes extremely ill. Today when I worked at the Catholic Charities of West Tennessee Food Pantry, I met some of these people.

I drove to the corner of Cleveland and Jefferson in Midtown and found my way to The Dozier House where the pantry is located on the Sacred Heart Campus at about nine in the morning. I get out of my car and I walk through the parking lot beside the old church administration buildings. They immediately remind me of my old school because of the old brick and odd additions to the buildings that obviously were not part of the original structure. It’s chilly as I look at the surroundings of the pantry.  I notice a shady shopping mall across the street and several houses in every direction that seem vandalized and abandoned. There’s a random assortment of people on the street, some I assumed from their attire were on their way to work while others seemed just to be drifting with a strange assortment of items (Baltimore and “The Wire” was all I was thinking). I make my way up the side walk through the black fenced gate to the brown door.

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I try the door and it’s locked but before I can try the intercom the door opens and I meet the other volunteers. I come into the entry way and again I’m reminded of my school, the old carpeted floor creeks while I step and the air smells aged but not stale. Inside I meet Felix, Gloria, Melinda, and Mary. I introduce myself and they quickly rattle of their names but before I really meet them Ms. Mary quickly hustles me down the hall way to the stock rooms to show me what I’ll be doing while I’m there. The first thing I notice about Ms. Mary is her aged New York accent, which is made exponentially better by her jests. She tells me about how the building use to be a convent but then was converted into a shelter for people with disabilities and dependencies for a short while before they lost their funding. The shelter makes since because as I walk down the hall you notice several rooms with fireplaces that now are packed with pallets of canned goods. I make it to the back kitchen where Ms. Mary shows me how they fill the specific grocery sacks for different size families and how they have lists for what goes in each sack so that way the family can meet all of its nutritional needs.  She shows me to the back where I start unpacking boxes from donors and organizing. I put my phone on Pandora and go to it for about an hour and then head back up to the front of the building to the other volunteers.

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I make my way to a little office where the volunteers are located directly by the front door where the clients come in to get the help that they need. Across from the office is a little kitchen, where they stack the grocery sacks and extra items they have for that day that they dole out until their gone. It’s here I really get to meet the other volunteers. Felix is in his late twenties; early thirties and is volunteering in his extra time after selling his business. He tells me about how he recently just got back from Florence where he was for four months learning to speak the language and visiting relatives. Ms. Gloria starts asking Felix about how to make pasta because according to her she needed to ask an Italian. Ms. Gloria and Ms. Melinda then explain to me about the protocol for working with the people who are in need and come in looking for help. Ms. Gloria then tells me that I’ll help the next clients that come in. As soon as she says the intercom rang and I let the client in. The woman comes in with a suit case which confuses me at first. Is she staying? I thought the shelter was closed? I continue to the small kitchen get her bag ready, the extras we have today are bread and frozen corn. Ms. Melinda takes the bag I readied and gives it to her. The woman opens up the suit case which I discover is empty and she places the bag in and zips it up. She has to use the suit case because she doesn’t have a car and has to walk most places when she’s not taking the bus. This had a resonating effect on me because it caught me so off guard.  I noticed this with more people that came in, I would give them there two bags and we would try and accommodate them as best as possible to make it easy to carry what they had. For instance an older gentleman came in and he didn’t have a bus pass or suit case or anything to help him carry his things so when we gave him his groceries he literally just had to walk with them to wherever he was going. I know this is a very small problem when you look at the whole picture of their troubles but still it blows my mind how much I just take for granted. The fact that when I just go grocery shopping the farthest I have to walk is to my car and then I can drive home. I don’t have to worry about long walks on troubled streets not only dealing with actually carrying my groceries but not getting robbed as well.

I see a more clients come through the door and help bag them up, I notice that most of them need little odd and end things that the panty doesn’t carry like bus passes and home supplies. MS. Melinda explains to me how because of food bank shortages that this is the first time they have had meat in a month as well as fresh vegetables. It begins to slow down now, I meet Al, who I believe was the coordinator, was on his way out to do their outreach program. Al tells me how the clients get verified through MIFA and other agencies, how their planning an outreach operation on Nov 7 where they’re going to try and feed 200 families. After that I meet Tony who used to be director of the shelter before it was shut down. He tells me and the volunteers about the new operation for helping veterans find housing and how they’ll be sending clients to the pantry. After that, Ms. Melinda takes me on a tour of the entire house and I realize how truly big the place is. She takes me upstairs and show me at least ten rooms some still with bed frames in it left from the shelter, then she takes me to the basement where there’s the remnants of a game room.

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Catholic Charities volunteers: Melinda, Mary, Felix and Gloria

It starts to dawn on me how large the shelter must have been and how many people must have been forced out when they lost their funding. It’s about 1:00, Ms. Gloria begins to shut down the pantry, and we say our goodbyes and I make my way back to my car and leave.  As I look back on my experience today to write about it, my mind ponders about the people I saw come into today. What had happened in their lives that had brought them to this situation? Was it just a bad card dealt that bought them on such hard times or just a system that is tilted in the favor of others.  It’s really hard to wrap your mind really around it because there so many facets to it. I tried to think about what would be a good reference for what I took in today.  When I really thought about it the “Once more into the breach” reference from Henry the V seemed a cool idea.  The volunteers at the Pantry like Felix, Melinda, Gloria, Al, and Mary face the insurmountable enemy that is hunger and poverty.  As sure as the sun rises and the pantry is open their will be people who need their help, and that can be discouraging in the thought of a never ending line of people in need, but what gives me hope is that I believe there will always be good people like the volunteers at the pantry ready to help those in need. So I say to the volunteers and volunteers to come at the pantry, “Once more into the Breach, Dear friends, once more.”

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as a business analyst. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: mailto:jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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Prelude: Max Groce

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When I graduated Mississippi State I have to admit I was extremely excited! I finally had a four year degree from an actual university, and not only that but in a subject that I was actually gifted in.  What I didn’t expect is how fast that luster would wear off.  Now I’m just kind of in this in between period of deciding how to pay for graduate school and acquiring some kind of employment that gives me needed experience. It’s a very scary concept trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, but this Volunteer Odyssey week that I’m about to start seems pretty straight forward.  Anytime spent relieving the troubles or pain of others can never be looked upon as time misspent or wasted. This is what I have always believed and to be involved with an organization that allows you to help such a different number of people in one week is incredible. If I said I wasn’t nervous I would be lying, but it does feel good to actually know and do something that is going to have a positive effect in someone’s life other than your own. I think coming to realize that through the week is what is going to have the biggest effect on me or maybe it will just be the pure number of people I meet and come to be friends with. Despite my anxiousness, I’m eager to get started and enthusiastic that it will have a lasting effect on not only me personally but my career and career goals. I hope you all will enjoy my blogs from this week’s Volunteer Odyssey.

What Happened to My Home

What Happened to My Home

By: Max Groce

I didn’t really know where to start on this blog about my Volunteering at the Dorothy Day House. I’ve never even been close to being homeless in my life. We lived in a small house when I was a kid but it was all my family ever needed and in my eyes it was perfect; it was warm in the winter and dry in the rain. So I’m here trying to think and all I can come up with is, “what in the heck do I know about being homeless?”

I go to the store to pick up cupcakes for dessert for the Dorothy Day House. I drive down 240 and get off on poplar and I arrive at the house. From the front it looks like a regular large old midtown Memphis house.  I pull around the narrow alley around back and park; I ring the back door bell and I’m greeted by Sister Maureen.  She ushers me into the living room where we sit down and she tells me what the house is all about. The house is definitely old it still has most of its original molding but it still looks good; there are pictures all over the dinner room of the families that have stayed at the house. I sit on a chair in the living room opposite of Sister Maureen and one of the other volunteers, Mr. Paul, who comes to lead in prayers. Sister Maureen starts to tell me how she started the house. She saw homelessness as a real problem, especially when it came to families. Most of the time when a family becomes homeless they are forced to split up. For example, men over a certain age go to the missions. Women, girls, and young girls might go the Salvation Army in Jackson and teenagers could end up somewhere in foster care. You have to realize that all of this is contingent upon whether there is room at these places; if there is not room, and then they’re on the street. Sister Maureen let me know that there are usually close to 200 families on the street homeless in Memphis.

So to combat this, Sister Maureen opened the Dorothy Day House which houses about 3 families rent free. Not only does she house them, she helps the children get into the nearby schools, and the adults find employment.  She tells me that the reason she believes this works is that it doesn’t feel like an institution. It feels like the most important thing, it feels like a home. They’re allowed to be together and feel each other’s support.  A family arrives soon after we finish stalking and Mr. Paul leads us in prayer and then we have dessert and coffee.  It’s incredible to hear the family’s story, and you start to imagine the stories of all the pictures on the walls. Sister Maureen explained some of them to me and they all have a pretty common characteristic.  It all starts with somebody trying to better themselves or get their family into a better place, then something tragic happens and then they fall with no safety net.

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The Dining Room

I finish my coffee and talking to the family at the table and Sister Maureen then I my way home.  It’s on the car ride home that the little acts of kindness things truly started to make sense.  Sister Maureen didn’t start some huge organization with hundreds of thousands of dollars, all she did was take in three families in desperate need off the street and it made it all the difference in the world. She gave them the thing that we take for granted so much; she gave them a home. A place to lay their heads and safety at least for a little while. She gave the adults the peace of mind that at least their kids get to sleep in a bed.  It’s crazy to think about all the things that we complain about. Me not excluded – I mean I lose my head when my Wi-Fi doesn’t work in my house but when I really start to think about it, it seems so distantly insignificant compared to the thought of not being able to be with my family.

I have to say out of all the work I did this week the Dorothy Day House had the biggest impact on me. When I got back from volunteering I did some reading and I ran across my quote that put into some perspective.  The quote is by Wallace Stegner and it says, “Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted can comprehend.” After volunteering, I was still far from understanding homelessness but I did have a better grasp of understanding hope and the little acts of kindness keep the despair and darkness at bay.