Volunteering is a great way to stay connected with the community around you. Anne, a seasoned volunteer with Portland Rescue Mission recalls the first time she came in contact with the people she now considers family and how it changed her life.
“I started volunteering for your radio-thons and I did that for two or three years. And I think about the third year is when I had your first telephone. And I had guys at both sides of me, and so I started to talk to them. And then I realized, out of the blue, that these guys were in the program. Then you realize that not that long ago, they were homeless and on the street. So, I started observing them. And they were so well spoken, they were so polite. And I listened to them on the phone, I watched them take their donations and I was so impressed that I thought I really need to be more involved.”
When Anne approached Portland Rescue Mission, she wasn’t
sure what she could do to help.
“I didn’t know a thing about The Mission, and I wanted to do an office job or something.”
Anne knew that she was willing and that was enough for our Volunteer Coordinator to respond, “We encourage everybody to be on the front lines, so they understand what we’re all about.”
Volunteering during breakfast and during dinner changed her life. Meeting the guests and hearing their stories was how Anne fell in love with her community. She knew she was in it for the long haul. “When you go to the graduations, and when you see families reunited, and when the kids come up and say ‘thank you for giving me back my dad’- it’s just so powerful. So that’s why I’m committed.”
Anne knows the depths of despair because she has lived it. “I was almost homeless. I was right on the cusp. I had lost everything. I was out of work, and I had had a great career. And I had a huge nest egg,” she recalls. Anne never thought she would lose everything, but it happened. All at once. “Before I knew it, I had nothing. And I mean nothing.”
Almost losing her home was traumatic but what was worse was losing her first love: her horses. Anne raised show horses until the day came where she almost lost her farm. She looked to a friend for solace to which her friend replied, “This is not about the farm. The Lord owns the farm, he doesn’t want it, this is about the heart.”
Anne learned patience and waiting through suffering through that time. Her experiences have allowed her to deeply connect with the guests she regularly comes in contact with and in turn, they have given her a deeper understanding of what it means to be grateful.
Through her years of volunteering, Anne kept finding different ways to give back. One way was by donating coffee cups to our Burnside Shelter. “I buy all the coffee cups. I furnish the coffee cups for the line. I found that little niche because you’re always looking for little ways to help. I bring about a hundred to a hundred fifty pounds of coffee cups at a time, two or three bins, depending on what I can get.”
Every act of kindness, no matter how big or small, make a huge difference for our guests and thanks to people like Anne, they receive a sense of comfort and hope.
Anne, and many volunteers like her, are an essential part of Portland Rescue Mission. They donate their time and love to see hope restored in the lives of people in the community who are struggling with homelessness and addiction.
Serving breakfast and dinner is a great way to get plugged into Portland Rescue Mission but there are many ways you can get involved! Mentoring our residents at Shepherd’s Door and The Harbor, leading small groups of men and women around God’s word, providing care and support for homeless men and women at our Guest Relations office, preparing food with other program participants at Mission Bar-B-Que are just some of the many ways you can help.
If you would like to volunteer with us, apply now at www.PortlandRescueMission.org/Volunteer!