- How long have you been on the team and how did you meet LEFSA?
I started volunteering with LEFSA in August 2017 and officially became a team member in November 2018.
I met LEFSA through a community member who invited me to come to a Wednesday team enrichment meeting. That was back in March 2017. I was so moved and captivated by the welcome from every member here that it kept me coming back. It was what was needed to get me through the week. You need something midway to keep you going, and that was just what I wanted to do on Wednesday. I was looking for other ways to occupy my time and this filled the void.
- Did you have any prior work or volunteer experience before LEFSA you want to mention?
Before LEFSA I worked with an organization that helped people with HIV/AIDS, providing overall help for health, group meetings and support.
LEFSA is a little bit more hands-on. There is activism… you go and reach out and feed people. I don’t know if it’s because the team members are formerly homeless and know what that means, but I’ve never met any place like LEFSA. Here nothing interferes with work. They know people depend on it… neither sickness nor weather can stop us.
- What do you do on the team?
I go into shelters and hold gatherings, build communities. I help with the street ministry, which is a beautiful thing. There are so many people out there in need. Out there you feel that you are doing God’s work. Sometimes I help with housing. I help to interpret from English to Spanish, and help people fill out applications. I do what’s necessary around here.
- What does LEFSA mean to you/why is LEFSA special?
LEFSA means giving back, helping, making a difference, transforming lives. It’s special to me because it has a human component. It’s compassionate. It’s not just surface work but work that comes from the heart, and that’s exemplified by everything we do here. They go above and beyond to make people feel special and welcomed, and people continue to come back for care.
- Do you have a memory of LEFSA you want to share?
Being out in a shelter and being asked why I got involved. Also seeing the genuine concern and care that LEFSA has to offer. We don’t just brush people off, we sit and listen, we share, we identify. One person in a shelter kept calling me a preacher, and even people in church keep telling me I have a special gift. That lets me know that I’m doing the right thing. It feels good. I am helping to make a change, I am helping to make things better. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. It makes me want to advocate more. I never forgot how LEFSA made me feel, like a loving family.