Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Domino Effect

I thought I had a grip on this domino effect., until I started to volunteer my very limited and insignificant skill sets to the House of Hope.

We have so many dedicated volunteers at the Threads of Hope Thrift Store.  This store not only gives the House of Hope the ability to create programs, classes and help for families in our community but is also a hub for the needs we are called to meet.  Here's the scenario of a day in the life....

Margaret Handley recently lost her husband 6 months ago, a wonderful man and father she has spent the last 60 years sharing a life with.  As part of Margaret's healing, she finally is able to part with his belongings.  Knowing his passion for kids and community, she decides to donate his clothes, personal items, his favorite recliner and those old silly John Deere wall hangings she can't wait to be rid of.

Margaret calls the Threads of Hope and asks if they could pick up these items for her since her kids have moved away and she has no other means to bring them to the store.  The pick up is scheduled and the crew is on the way.

In the meantime, the House of Hope receives a phone call from Department of Children's Services.  A family they have been working with recently has the opportunity to go from the homeless shelter to an apartment and asks if there is anything we can do to help out.

The truck pulls up to the residence.  One employee of the store and one volunteer greet Margaret with a smile and conversation about her needs.  They understand this is a hard situation and offer the utmost care with her things. They reassure her that her husbands items will be a great benefit to the community, give her information about our mission and leave with the same smiles and wonderful stories of a man they never knew.

Denise Melton, the director of the House of Hope inquires of the DCS worker as to the needs of this family. The father, Jim,who had lost his job and couldn't pay for his rent, packed up his kids and showed up at the homeless shelter. Nine months earlier, Jim's ex-wife, was arrested for sale and manufacture of meth amphetamines.  DCS became involved when the children were removed from the home after the mothers arrest.  Jim was notified that his children were at the House of Hope waiting for placement. He had no idea of the situation and received full custody of the three.

The truck pulls into the unloading area of the Thrift Store. Items are unloaded, labeled and ready to prepare.  Clothes are ironed, electronics are checked, items are cleaned, dusted and repaired if needed to a working, good condition.  All this is done by volunteers at the store.

Denise, with a passion to help this family get back on their feet and give these kids some sense of a normal life, goes to work.  A call to the store reveals that they just got in some men's clothes that Jim could have for interviews and clothes for everyday wear. The recliner would go for their new apartment and the shaving kit and personal items will help him through building back a life he once lost.  All this will be freely given to him at no cost and as soon as possible.  The children are also taken care of with plenty of clothes, beds, personal care items that they need as well as school supplies and food baskets.

Does the volunteer who checked and repaired the electric razor know that he just helped a man get a job and keep his kids?  Probably not. Does the volunteer who tirelessly irons the clothes know that 3 children may be able to eat a meal and be full because their dad has clothes to wear to work? Probably not. That woman I see hidden in the back,  dusting dishes and items and maybe a couple John Deere wall hangings, does she even have a clue that a child is looking up on his wall right now, smiling and thinking that one day he would like to be a farmer? I know for sure she does not.

This is the domino effect.  We do the best with the gifts we are given, the heart for others and know that behind the scenes, everything works for the ultimate good.  Margaret would be thrilled to know that her one act of letting go, gave a whole family a new start.  I would gladly and proudly dust glasses, answers phones or whatever little task I am given, knowing that ultimately not one small task will be wasted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life Overview

One of the things I never thought I would do is become a volunteer for a non-profit, community serving organization. I have spent so much of my life working full time, writing resumes, raising children and keeping life from getting away from me, who would have time for that?  I found out that volunteering is something you can do even if you think you don't have the time.  I had no idea you can volunteer even just a couple hours a week!  Just a small amount of time turns into a huge difference for your community.

I should warn you though, volunteering changes your life.  It changes your perspective of the world, your place in it, and what purpose we all serve on the planet.  Since I started my journey over 7 years ago, I'm not the same person I was before.  I see life with new eyes.  I see that every person has a story.  Every child has potential and every human has a gift.

In my desire to use the gifts and talents God gave me, I began searching out ways to use them.  I reached out to the House of Hope and asked if there was anything I could do.  They put me on task right away using the things I love to do most.  Figuring things out and messing with the computer.  It was fun and I was able to work as my schedule allowed.  More on all that later.  I have made some irreplaceable friends and serving makes me happy.

So much happens behind the scenes of the regular public that I really felt the need to share it with you.  These will be my first hand experiences inside the House of Hope. You will hear my stories as well as stories from others volunteering with me.  Buckle up and we'll get started