I was tired. Until I heard we were short-handed, I briefly toyed with the idea of skipping the Tuesday drop-in and community dinner. But, in just one evening, I had the following amazing experiences:
- I watched a community member, who has health problems that makes him chronically tired, fill-in for our sick chef to cook the meal. Oh, and did I mention that one of our stoves died, so they had to do it all with one stove / oven where the ancient wiring only allows either the stove or the oven, but not both, to be used at the same time?
- Despite significant language barriers, I supported a volunteer who was feeling discouraged.
- I had a long conversation with a community member who recently experienced homelessness. He was excited because another agency had reached out to him and he hoped to have help getting off the street in a week’s time. I learned much of his fascinating story. He was the victim of a gentrification eviction.
- The weather had turned cool. A woman came with a sleeveless blouse. Another community member had loaned her his jacket for the evening. A group of community members helped her to identify places where she could get a coat and other warm clothes the next day. But she had nothing to wear for the evening as she walked home. A volunteer gave her the sweatshirt they were wearing, which she gratefully accepted.
I told my family that evening that I would never have had such a meaningful evening if I had stayed home or if I had caught up on the backlog at work. Every day at Oasis is special if you look for it (and often even if you don’t look for it).