“Thank you for playing cards with my son tonight, I haven’t seen him smile like that in days.” This simple statement was made by a single mom with three children living at the Beacon House while trying to find affordable housing. The vision statement for Beacon House family shelter says: “We envision a day when every child has a place to call home and an opportunity for a brighter future.”
This is why the volunteers do what they do — for the children.
As with many volunteer opportunities, I end up getting more than I give. I can give the children attention, listen to the parents’ stories, but the other families show me how to accept and not judge the people who are staying there. Sometimes it is difficult not to judge. “Love not judge” is a motto I’m still learning. I am there for a few hours and then I go to my home and sleep in my own bed. They may be at the shelter for 30-60 days, trying to find a place to live and secure employment. How would I do under such circumstances? I have all the material things that make my life comfortable — they do not.
What courage and humility it must take to continue parenting under those circumstances.
I grew up in a family who taught me to love by loving me. Many of the clients didn’t have that same stability — they are doing the best they can. I am still learning compassion.
How each of us sees the world is based on our personalities and experiences. I want to keep an open mind and heart as I meet the families.
Jesus tells us to shelter the homeless. Pope Francis tells us the Christian message is transmitted by embracing those in difficulty,
It is a challenge to not judge, to be compassionate and to keep an open heart. I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to keep volunteering, learning and praying.
Thank you to the Newman volunteers who serve with such faithfulness and joy.
A parishioner at Newman Parish in Eau Claire
Additional information can be found at www.beacon-house.org
During 2015, Beacon House provided:
43 families received shelter (48 adults and 70 children)
5,387 nights of shelter were provided
13 families received rental assistance
2 had rental application fees paid
25 families received donated furniture after securing housing
12 families received assistance with employment needs
11 adults pursued their GED/HSED
3 adults were assisted in continuing their post secondary education
5 families received transitional housing through Family Promise of the Chippewa Valley
138 families were sponsored at Christmas