The following message comes from Lesa, one of our incredible emergency warming center volunteers. Lesa was a familiar face at our warming centers, and she spent several nights staying awake to assist people who needed a warm place do sleep.
Spring is fast approaching, the buds on the trees are getting ready to burst open and the weather is definitely warmer. Before we put aside all our concerns about winter and the warming shelter, let me share on of my experiences from the last shelter overnight.
It was in the morning after a long night monitoring. I was helping to clean up before leaving for home. I was approached by a groomed man in causal winter wear, and he identified himself as a member of the Imaego Dei parish. He questioned me about the program. This surprised me as my only contact with Imaego Dei was the pastor. He would give us his support and help us with answers to our questions. I wanted to be sure that this gentleman understood the importance that Imaego Dei was making in people’s lives. I wanted to ensure that he understood that the Red Cross took care of his church’s property and that we were respectful of his church’s mores.
He smiled and stated, “You don’t need to tell me about this, for as of the beginning of February, for the first time in my life I became homeless. I didn’t know what to do and I was afraid, but then I remembered my church had a warming shelter and all I needed to do was come, I would be taken care of by the Red Cross.”
I was surprised by his statement, I had not expected this response. He continued to proceed to thank me and asked me to extend his thanks to the rest of the shelter volunteers as he walked away,