Volunteer Jerry Levine says working at the front desk of Urban Ministry Center for the past 3+ years makes him feel lighter and being here helps him tap into himself in a unique way. He cares more, is humbled, and believes it helps him regain perspective about what truly hurts him and what he’s grateful for in his own day to day living. It’s brought a new recognition to his life and one that he hoped to share with his grandchildren. He sent them this letter last year:
Dear Michael, Ethan, Jackson, Allie, Abby, Maddy, Zachary, Evie, Nate, and Alex
This year grandma and I have decided to give the money we would spend for Christmas presents to a Center that helps homeless boys, girls, men and women. I know the Center and the homeless people pretty well because I volunteer there at the front desk every Monday afternoon.
I started volunteering three years ago, because I felt so uncomfortable with people on the street who were homeless. I would look away from them or avoid them as much as I could. Now I am able to look directly at them and say hello, or “How ya doing?” without that uncomfortable feeling. I can treat them like a real person.
Although there is one individual that gives me real grief for my poor hearing every time we interact at the Center, the other “neighbors” (as we ref
er to them) are much like you and me. They are respectful and grateful, happy, sad, courteous, and sometimes really rude. They can kid with others, get angry, frustrated, and I even see them hug another neighbor who they haven’t seen for a long time.
I have been amazed at their courage, determination, and especially their sense of humor. This is after losing their families, jobs, homes, or apartments. Most all of them have spent time living on the streets and facing problems of being safe, feeling hungry, and finding a place to sleep at night out of the cold. Can you imagine not knowing where you are going to sleep tonight? Can you imagine not having your own bed, or if there will be anything to eat in the morning?
When they laugh or smile as I joke with them or when they kid with me, I am amazed that they can still do that. That they can still laugh. In those moments it feels like God is touching both of us –blessing us.
Thank you for helping us help them this Christmas.
Jerry shares his blessing by “respecting and admiring each neighbor who comes into my life.”
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