We Give Holiday Gifts
Here at Showering Love, we love giving holiday gifts!! We do it for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and sometimes just because it’s cold outside!! So, for this particular holiday season, we’re stuffing stockings with an assortment of gifts for our guests! When they come for a shower, we give them a stocking filled with all kinds of goodies including playing cards and a bus pass. That bus pass is particularly prized among our guests. Maybe this year you can go home to your family for the holiday. Or you could go for that job interview – even just to take a ride and look at the pretty lights! We also give them new undies each time they come for their shower. That way they can leave feeling fresh and nice!
Other Holiday Gifts
But now, think about the non-material holiday gifts we give! We give some dignity – a person needs to be clean to have any semblance of dignity!! We see our guests come up to the bus with heads down and shoulders slumped. Then, they walk off that bus with heads up, shoulders back, and smiles on their faces!! We give hope. When we interact with our guests on a one-to-one basis – listening to their stories – letting them know that we respect and care for them – they walk away with hope in their hearts. With each shower, we give a good shot of self-esteem! Now they can feel good about themselves! It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you smell really bad!!
Our Holiday Gifts
And finally let’s think about what our guests give to us in the way of holiday gifts!! Many volunteers share with us how they felt before Showering Love and then after Showering Love!! What a difference! When we see people standing on the corner, begging for change, we often don’t really even “see” them. We look away, we don’t make eye contact. Sometimes we think we see a predator, only to find out after Showering Love that that person is more likely a victim! Homeless people are much more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to perpetrate them! They give us new knowledge – a priceless gift!! Along with that new knowledge they give us understanding.
We find that most homeless people are just victims of circumstances – job loss, family tragedy, divorce, etc. Our volunteers begin to realize that they, themselves, could be just one paycheck away from joining the ranks of the homeless population! Then, we start to see our guests as people – we start to feel compassion. And what greater gift can they give us than that!!?? Like the Grinch, we find that our hearts have grown at least 2 sizes!! One volunteer told us that before his experience with us, he didn’t really feel anything for the homeless person on the street. Now, he insists on “working the bus” (cleaning the showers and toilets between guests) every time we go there!! He won’t let anyone else do it!!