Helping People in Homeless Shelters
Volunteers prepare free meals to help the people staying at Access Emergency Center, a local homeless shelter in Connecticut.Show/Hide Transcript
VO: We hold on to things that are close to our heart: our family, our friends and our livelihoods. These are things that we can’t imagine a life without. But in the blink of an eye, you could lose everything. This is something Nancy experienced first-hand.
Nancy Jarvis (relies on shelter assistance): I lost everything. I always helped people my whole life. I had taken in homeless people. I fed people, thinking that, “My God, I would never want to be like that,” and then look what happened. I never, ever thought that I would be homeless—ever.
VO: As do most people. While 17% of the population living in Wyndham, Connecticut are below the poverty line, none of them would’ve expected that they too would be in Nancy’s situation.
Nancy: Homelessness…it’s not a state of mind, it’s not a condition. It’s not something someone looks forward to. It’s a crisis in your life; something that happens that you’re not in control of. Totally unexpected.
VO: But to her surprise, a unique group of volunteers came to her rescue. INC Giving volunteers from Danielson, Connecticut came to the Access Emergency Center and gave their time to help not only Nancy, but to help everyone else who was also struggling.
Marcia Melton (lead service coordinator): It was hard for them to believe that people care and want to do these things for them. A lot of them come from home situations where they didn’t get this type of attention and affirmability at home, so it’s really, really a nice thing for them.
Nancy: I was totally surprised when I came out and saw the people. They were so warm and wonderful.
Cliff Stirba (INC Giving volunteer): The second we started cooking, you could see the residents perking up and they were like, “What is that? What’s being cooked? That smells really good!” I’m like, “We’re making burgers today!” And then the residents got a little excited, you could see their spirits lifting and they were getting ready to eat. And finally, we called them in to eat and they all just sort of crowded around and was like, “This is delicious! This is amazing! This is great!”
Brother Jeffrey Domingo (Minister of the Gospel): We made the effort to reach out to our fellow man, to introduce ourselves to them, to speak with them, even if it was just for a few moments to get to know who they are.
Nancy: They were very pleasant; they treated us like people and not like things—like objects—because people hear homeless and they think, “Oh my gosh, they’re bums! They don’t want to work.” They were very warm and welcoming. The way that they presented it was special. It was nice.
Bonnie Topa (relies on shelter assistance): They cared. They stopped and took the time when you had a question. They didn’t pass you by like you meant nothing. You were something to them in their eyes. You could see it—that you meant something to them. So, they did take the time to sit and talk to you. Thank you for coming out and talking to us, serving us a great meal.
Nancy: “Thank you” seems so miniscule. It’s heartfelt, very deep, and I’m grateful to them. Thank you.