In an sincere effort to help and serve many that are have unfortunate circumstances, I decided volunteer at our local warming center in Pontiac, MI. Over the past year, our communities and workforce has been hit with many obstacles, trials, and obstructions that have effected us all. There is no doubt that there is a need for help and support on all levels. Even at a young age, I have been involved to make our community a better place to live. Recognition and involvement with community throughout my life was rooted through my family up-bringining, faith, and friends.
My visit to the warming center was very interesting. To begin with, it was actually a unseasonal very warm night in March. The warming center is only open during the colder months of the year, November to end of April. When we entered the warming center, the poor stood outside waiting to come into the center. We were to prepare for the opening of the center at 7 pm with food, shelter, beds, bathroom facilites, personal hygiene, and clothes. The center director and management was very welcoming and instructed us of the "Rules" of the center prior to begining operations. I had volunteered to hand out bedding materials for them.
As entered the bedding materials room, I was amazed by the number of bags with peoples names on them. Prior to heading to the center, I was told that they average 40 to 45 people per night. Well, to my suprise there were 3 times the amount of bags in the room. First, I thought we need to sort the bags in alphabetical order to handle the personal items more effectively. This was quite a chore to accomplish. My brother-in-law, Jamie, and I sorted out the bags as best as we could down the narrow hallway and into adjacent rooms. At the end of sorting, my hands felt very sore and itchy. They became very red and had white spots on them like I had been allergic to something I touched.
The warming center is one of the only centers that allows individuals to enter without being tested for alochol or drugs of any kind. The center is very strict on this policy with behavior actions and rules as well. When I was handling the sleeping materials to each person, I noticed that most all had taken advantage of the rules of the center. This I thought would be the case due to the condition and environment that is at hand.
Well, our priest came to the center and I was very happy to see him. His brother had passed away a few weeks earlier and he came to spend time at the center. This lesson did not come and go lightly with me. I have a brother and he is my best friend. The overall expression of endless love and caring definitely did not go unnoticed.
The overall serving community and lessons learned certainly is heathy for our well-being. I encourage all to get involved in community to enrich our lives.