This is a guest post by Emerging Leaders Committee member, Lauren Rochholz from Microsoft.
Before the project, Comcast, Mary’s Place and United Way told us how our time and effort met the needs of a vulnerable population and aided the homelessness effort. Volunteers broke into teams, with most Emerging Leaders organizing the storeroom. The storeroom is a special place: it’s where Mary’s Place guests shop for belongings to meet their immediate needs and pick out items for new housing when it becomes available. The goal of the day was to reorganize the room to a similar filing system as other shelters. Other volunteers from Emerging Leaders and Comcast aided in taping and painting, outdoor work, sorting incoming donations, or improving the computer lab and internet connection.
After 3 hours of work the shelter was a different, better place. All four floors had received a new coat of paint, the surrounding yard was improved, the Internet was faster and more reliable, and the donations and supplies were neatly put away and labeled. It was amazing to see what a dedicated group of volunteers can accomplish.
The best part of the day was seeing a family come into the storeroom while we were organizing the items. They had finally received housing and needed bedding, suitcases, and other essentials to fill their new home. One of United Way’s main goals is to create a community where people have homes. We had the privilege of seeing the goal accomplished, at least for one family in need. It made all the time, sweat, and donations worth it.