Homelessness is Unacceptable. We’re Doing Something About It.
Guest blogger Lisa Wolf works in Community Development at Washington Federal. She currently sits on the Emerging Leader Marketing Committee and was a United Way Loaned Executive in 2013. Read on to hear about her experience at the Community Resource Exchange.
As I headed to volunteer at the Community Resource Exchange (CRE) earlier this week to serve people experiencing homelessness, I reflected about my morning routine. I realized that often I take for granted the privileges that I have every morning, including being able to drive myself in my car to the event that day. Waking up in a comfortable bed, taking my healthy dog on a walk, eating a freshly made breakfast, picking out an outfit, and locking the door behind me as I left. All of these are luxuries and choices that keep me feeling safe in a happy home.
I participate at the CRE every chance I get. Not only because of its efforts to end homelessness, but also because I get to actually meet the individuals, hold conversations, learn their stories, and see the direct impacts that United Way and myself are making in their lives. I learned that
… in King County, on any night there are around 9,000 individuals who are homeless, and that is just unacceptable.
By gathering hundreds of partner agencies and services in one place on this one day, we as a community are able to touch the lives of more than 1,500 guests at the event. From healthcare to financial services, from foot washing to a warm meal – adults, children and even dogs can benefit.
At past CRE’s I volunteered to escort guests to the various services around the room, and I have had some heartbreaking, inspiring and difficult conversations. This time I was at the free haircuts station with other Emerging Leader volunteers providing numbered tickets, sweeping and coordinating the wait list. It was incredible to interact and see the transformation of guests with clean, freshly cut hair and smiles across their faces. Another indulgence I reflected on – as I thought about my next scheduled hair appointment.
I think it is imperative to have this event and wish it was possible for it to occur more often. It’s a way for us all in the community to unite and provide hope to individuals experiencing homelessness. Want to see more about the event? Check out the photos and the event recap to learn more.