I would like to tell Grace how much I appreciate her and thank her; not just for the wonderful services she provides for people experiencing homelessness, but also for me. I’ve battled mental illness all my life, going to therapy once a week for years. I was on many different medications that only put me in more of a whirlwind; I never felt “better”. So, eventually, I’d had enough with the pills and the doctors, since it didn’t seem to be helping anyway, and I started to handle “it” on my own.
I struggled, had my ups and downs, but at least I had a clear mind to understand those ups and downs and work on the downs and thank God for the ups! Along the way, I reconnected with my sister, Jeanne. Come to find out that she, along with others, transformed a city bus into a mobile shower for people experiencing homelessness, a bus called Grace! From a vision to reality after 30 years! She asked if my husband and I would volunteer to do some things for an upcoming event – the “Candy Cane Parade” – of course we said “Yes!” The “Candy Cane Parade” was so much fun and I felt so happy and energetic after the event – not only that night, but for days afterward! I offered more assistance and, as a result, my husband and I now “work” the bus! What that means is that we set everything up for the guests – towels, washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpastes, combs, razors, socks, shirts, and underwear. Then, after the guests depart, we go in and clean the bathrooms, and get them ready for the next ones.
The homeless are people – just like us!
The first time, I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. Most that I talked with just had a run of bad luck: job loss, family tragedy, and yes, some drugs and/or alcohol abuse – but people just the same. Many of us are just a paycheck or two away from being in the same position. I kept seeing the guests before their shower – slouched, worn, defeated-looking. When they emerged, they stood taller, smiling, with a renewed sense of self-worth! It was amazing to see the transformation right before my eyes!
Grace had reached out to the people experiencing homelessness and the homeless walked out with grace. I, myself, was feeling happier throughout the day watching Grace become more than a bus that was transformed into mobile showers. Grace became more to me, better than a therapy session, or pills! Grace, you have touched so many lives – far more than you know! Thank you for being graceful and Happy Birthday!!!
Written by Deborah Andor