Svjetlana walked by The Mission every day on her way to work, seeing the growing demand for its services firsthand. She started volunteering on her own several years ago, and she found herself quickly drawn into the community of care developed by the staff and volunteers.
“You meet so many different people that have crossed so many different paths,” she says. “And you learn something from each of them.”
With many volunteers having to stay away due to the pandemic, it’s been hard on the community.
“I’ve made real friendships here, the kind where you call to check in on one another,” she says. “Speaking with them, you can tell it causes them hurt that they aren’t able to come in.”
For Svjetlana, that’s one of the reasons it was still important for her to continue to serve, despite the risk.
“If not now, then when?” she says. “As long as there are people in need, we’ll be there. We have to come together as a community, now more than ever.”
Indeed, beyond the friendships formed, the volunteers show up for the people they serve. Many say the experience has changed their perspectives on poverty and homelessness.