You may be familiar with the “Starfish” story. An old man was walking along the beach where he walks each day; there were thousands of starfish and without water they would die. So, a young boy comes along and takes a starfish and throws it as far out to sea as he can and he does it again and again. But the old man says “It doesn’t matter, you’re never going to save them all”. And the young boy proclaimed, “It mattered to that one!”
A Volunteer Opportunity
A friend shared with me that she was volunteering for a great organization, Showering Love. As a newcomer to the area, I wanted to help. She told me that Showering Love gives showers to the homeless where they are, on the streets. They can take a private, hot shower, shave and receive new underwear, t-shirt, socks and basic toiletries. My volunteer opportunities with Showering Love have left my heart full of hope as each experience has allowed me to say, “It mattered to that one!”
It mattered to Miami!
Because I’m a Miami native, I was excited that my first time going out with Showering Love was in Miami. “Make the Homeless Smile” is a recurring event that takes place the third Sunday of every month. So I got up early and headed south. I was feeling very proud, rolling along behind Grace, the mobile shower bus! She’s the symbol of hope, love, and kindness. The onlookers seemed to feel her presence, too – smiles and conversations were going on everywhere!
There were folks waiting for us, happy to see Grace and the volunteers. Because I was working at the sign-up table, I got to interact with most of the guests.
One stands out in my memory – Robert is a young man who lives in a shelter nearby. He spent some time with one of the other volunteers, telling his story. Robert just wanted to be heard! He had the biggest smile after his shower. Then strangers touched my heart. People said, “I feel amazing!” and “Thank you!”
And so, I quickly learned that there are many circumstances that lead people to homelessness. But each person was kind, thankful, and wanted to change their situation. Now, I understand that people experiencing homelessness are in the “middle” of their journey. All things considered, they are human beings with feelings, dreams, goals, and they want to be treated with dignity and respect. It matters to this one!
Thank you, Shirley Mills, for sharing your story with us!