Written by Angela Helbing, Volunteer
I started walking the streets with The Human Impact this past year. It has certainly changed my view on the homeless. In what way? We are not all that different. We have families and friends, we have traveled, all enjoy an engaging conversation, and all are broken – just in different ways. I have had the privilege of stability my entire life. For my homeless friends, somewhere along their journey, they stepped off one path onto another and were not able to be picked back up, or at least what you and I think of as being picked back up. This doesn’t make them unapproachable… they just have a different story.
I have had the honor of slowly getting to know Sandra, and I really do mean slowly. She’s quiet and very guarded. We are about the same age; she has an awesome smile, she likes to read, she is from the south, and she likes structure. So much so, that after weeks of conversation she asked if I had an old watch that she might have. I am guessing it is so she would know when to get in line for the shelter. I would call her a leader on the streets – oh, and she really likes a great movie! Through our conversations I realized that inside the shelter, movies, if watched, usually are observed in a large group around a small television, in a big room with lots of distractions. So, this is where the movie idea began.
The Human Impact helped orchestrate a Christmas movie day for our friends on the streets. It was held at CitySquare’s Opportunity Center. A popcorn machine popped popcorn for a great movie smell that filled the air. It attracted new friends along with a lot of familiar faces. Hot chocolate along with all the fixings of marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and sprinkles were provided. We watched the movie Elf, and we even had some volunteers provide “goodie bags” with Christmas socks and candy for our precious friends.
It was such an honor to serve our friends in this way. They laughed, refilled their hot chocolates, and definitely went all in on the buttery popcorn! It was a great, cold morning to relax inside, enjoy friendship, have great conversations and have our friends take a break from life on the streets. What a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season!