I believe that if you want to feel better about yourself, you have to get out of yourself. My mother, Marjorie, had a real heart for service. She never met a stranger and even told me that if she could, she wanted to die in service to another knowing that she was trying to improve the lives of everyone she could. Thankfully, I inherited her heart for service. I’m so glad to have friends who feel the way I do and here in Phoenix, I am connected with some great organizations that support the homeless. This month’s blog is about one of those organizations, One True Love. Founded by Krysten Aldridge in 2007, she takes a dedicated group of volunteers and goes out to visit our friends on the street several times through the year. This year was the 10th annual Turkey Toss where we partnered with our friends Keri Frazier and her volunteers at Left Coast Burrito and Jon Linton and The I Have A Name Project and The Let’s Be Better Humans Campaign and hit the street after Thanksgiving to pass out turkey burritos to our friends. I was so pleased to see young kids out there asking questions about how they could best help. Only certain people are allowed to prepare the food due to food handling regulations, so for everyone else, the opportunities to serve are everywhere. I watched Krysten explain to these youngsters that just going out there and engaging with them is huge. It’s not just passing out food and bottles of water, it’s getting plugged in to what another human is feeling. Sometimes, just acknowledging that a person is welcome in your space, that you value and respect them is enough to help someone hold onto something to help them get through the night. You can never discount what human kindness does, not only to the one receiving but also the one giving. So many of us that volunteer have our own stories of being down and out and the memories of those experiences stay with us and propel us to show the love that maybe we were shown or maybe we were denied. As the editor-in-chief of Salire Magazine, I will be featuring each of these Rockstar’s and their organizations in a future issue. I cannot wait to do the interviews, hear the stories, take the pictures and share that with people who are hungry for change. It can be emotionally hard to volunteer on the street. It takes a special heart to get plugged in and engage but to know that you aren’t able to take everyone home at the end of an event. Every time I go, I cry for hours that I am not rich enough to fix everyone’s problems but I am determined to impact a life while I am able. Homelessness is a chronic, worldwide epidemic and a dialogue needs to be opened, changes need to happen on a grand scale. Volunteering is worth it, it’s worth every tear, every feel you feel. When you are out there, you aren’t just changing their lives for a night, you may be impacting them and inspiring them. I guarantee that your life will be changed. You will come home grateful for what you have, with a little perspective, a lot of humility, and an overwhelming feeling of love for others. I am including a video of our friend Ebony singing Who’s Lovin’ You by the Jackson 5. Indeed, beautiful Ebony, who’s lovin’ you? We are my friend, we are.
Ed Note: My apologies on the video qaulity, I almost missed it and it was on a nearly dead cell.