We recently had the opportunity to volunteer at The Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne, a faith-based non-profit organization that provides services to men, women, and children who are experiencing a homeless crisis. We helped serve those in need during the Sunday evening meal. The awesome thing about this week’s experience was that we had a couple of guests join us. We created Impact 52 to teach our children about volunteerism and giving and hoped to inspire others to get involved in their community. This week, our girls inspired friends and those friends wanted to help us volunteer at the mission. Four girls ages 14 and younger working the service line feeding the homeless of Fort Wayne. An eye-opening and life changing experience? You be the judge. I asked each one of them to write a few words about the experience. I want to share them with you:
“It was great to have the opportunity to help the homeless. I was excited when my dad told me that we were volunteering at the homeless shelter. I knew then that I needed to get my friend Destiny to volunteer with us. She was excited to help out. I was amazed when the chef told us that he was expecting over 200 people to eat during our visit. It made me realize that there are a lot of people who need help in Fort Wayne. I was devastated to see so many people walk through the doors. My heart was broken, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I was happy to serve green beans and vegetables. Many of the people made me smile and started conversation with me. When I looked over at Destiny she was smiling too. That made me feel good. Destiny was glad that she could come and help us. It felt awesome to inspire a friend to help the homeless” – MaKenna (age 11)
“Today I have learned that helping is not just a word. There is a whole other world out there filled with people who need help. I will no longer brag about the things in my life like a new pair of shoes or a brand new car. I realize that the homeless do not get the same opportunities that others get. I learned that Impact 52 is a life saving project that helps people out. I am waiting until I can help more.” – Destiny (age 11)
“The feelings that rushed through me while serving at the Rescue Mission were surprising. I never thought that we would serve so many families with so little. I’m embarrassed because I often complain about not getting the things that I want. I am so thankful to have a roof over my head and food for meals three times a day. I take so many things for granted. As I served bread to people I asked myself “why does this make me upset?” I wonder why God has a different plan for each of us. I always stay positive because that is what my dad has taught me. God has a plan and all will be good in time. Kids much younger than me stood in line to get a meal. It broke my heart! I have to be honest, the night after serving I lied in bed and cried. It was upsetting to see so many people in need of a meal. It was equally upsetting knowing that many people will not give a little bit their time and offer it to others. I want to change the world. I do not know how it will happen, but I know I started by providing bread to one in need.” – Kelsi (age 14)
“When I volunteered to help Impact 52 at the Rescue Mission this past Sunday, I expected to maybe feed a few homeless people and then go on with my day. What I didn’t expect, though, was the amount of people in the Fort Wayne area who didn’t have something I considered so conventional as a hot meal. Around two hundred men, women, and children stood in line to receive some of the staples that contribute to a good meal: chicken, bread, macaroni and cheese, green beans with carrots, salad, and a small dessert. It broke my heart to see that so many needed what I took for granted. The Rescue Mission itself is a wonderful, faith-driven organization that helps all who need it in the name of the Lord. Interacting with those less fortunate made me want to hear their life stories and help even more. In this world of darkness, a smile can be the light that someone needs to continue. So that is what I gave: food to sustain their stomachs and a kind smile to sustain their hearts. I am deeply humbled and very grateful to have been given the opportunity to help in this way and to possibly impact someone’s life through my actions. I hope to continue in this line of charitable work and possibly help Impact 52 again in the future.” Kylie (age 14)
These are powerful testimonials from four amazing young women. The lessons learned will stay with each of them for years to come. This experience was evidence of the power of volunteerism. Our children need to learn about giving, experience volunteerism, and live a life of service. We can mobilize the youth of our community, the next generation, if we decide to invest the time. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and amazing children who put others first. One family can make a difference. We live it each week.
There are families and individuals experiencing a homeless crisis all over the world. Take some time to learn how you can help. I guarantee that you will benefit from it just as much as they do.