Celebrating Our Amazing Volunteers
I have long enjoyed the writing of C.S. Lewis and his ability to shed light on fallen human nature. A favorite passage of mine comes from Letter 6 of Lewis’s Screwtape Letters in which the devilish Screwtape instructs his understudy Wormwood on how to seduce Patient (a Christian) into not properly caring for others. In a nutshell, Screwtape instructs Wormword to direct Patient’s hatred towards his neighbors, and Patient’s good intentions toward remote peoples. That way, the practical effect is that Patient’s virtues are pushed out into the realm of fantasy rather than “loving our neighbors as ourselves.”
I’ve thought about how this can play out in our lives. It can be seductive to reserve our generosity for people suffering in other countries far removed from ourselves, while harboring some level of resentment and reluctance to serve our next door neighbor suffering dementia. Reserving and focusing compassion on only those afflicted in distant lands might excuse one’s conscience from serving those in our midst – for example, serving a meal to a traumatized Mission guest battling schizophrenia and addiction. To confront suffering is to step out of our comfort zone and into heart-level service of a person in need. It’s where things get real.
That is why we celebrate our extraordinary Eugene Mission volunteers who serve to the glory of God. Our volunteers serve humbly and from the heart. They are the “real deal.” They do not come with a news crew, to build their resume, or to tack on a vacation at the end of their volunteer “stint.” They come to share Hope and to truly care for the least and the lost.
Our volunteers know our guests by name. They mentor, teach classes, lead activities, perform repairs, and prepare meals. They can be found performing critical administrative and maintenance tasks that keep our operations humming. But most of all, our volunteers bring their laughter, love, and joy to the Eugene Mission. Their remarkable talents inspire, encourage, and bless us all.
We dedicate this issue to our wonderful volunteers! Thank you so much! We look forward to serving side by side with you again when the safety precautions of this pandemic have been lifted. We are managing but we miss you! May God richly bless you for your faithfulness!
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Thank You Volunteers!
1. Guest Services Desk
Marlon, a retired physician, is one of our 20+ guest service volunteers. When Marlon started two years ago he was in a behind-the-scenes role, but now he is in the heart of our Men’s Center and one of the first faces our guests see when they enter our doors. In this position he not only distributes toiletries and other basic necessities, but also has the opportunity to talk to guests who want to chat. One of Marlon’s favorite parts about this role is working and learning alongside our guest services supervisor Tony. Marlon’s faith plays a big role in why he serves. He shared, “It’s commanded, but I don’t do it out of a sense of command, it’s what our Lord would want us to do.”
Amanda, a retired but still very active violinist, serves lunch every week in our kitchen. She began volunteering at the Mission during our big Thanksgiving meal. “I thought it was great that we served a beautiful meal. Everybody was sitting down with table clothes and tableside service. It was very special.” Amanda has been serving ever since, and enjoys being able to talk to the guests who come through the lunch line and getting to know their names.
Serving three meals a day to almost 1000 people requires a lot of hands! Whether it is dishing up a delicious and nutritious meal like Amanda does, helping wash and chop hundreds of pounds of veggies, or organizing our food donations, there are plenty of spots for people to get involved. If you like having short conversations with hundreds of people, this is the spot for you. We look forward to the return of volunteer shifts when the COVID-19 precautions have been lifted.
3. Moms and Kids
When Elizabeth arrives on our campus at 6 a.m., our guests are just beginning to wake up. She has the awesome task of helping all of our families get ready for school. Getting one family ready in the morning is a challenge. You can imagine how getting eight families ready is an all-hands-on-deck event. Elizabeth helps kids get dressed and eat before the school buses arrive and is also available to play and read with them while their mothers are preparing for their day.
One of Elizabeth’s favorite memories from serving at the Mission is when she was scheduled to work in the food warehouse. As she was working, a boy staying in our Mother’s and Children’s Center saw her from across the kitchen and ran up and gave her a hug while asking if she could stay and play with him. “It just warms your heart and makes you feel like you are doing something that matters to someone.”
4. Clothing Rooms
Kathy and Kellie volunteer in the clothing boutique located in the Women’s Center. Clothing donations are essential to our guests who often arrive at our doorstep with little more than the clothing they are wearing. Kathy and Kellie work together on Wednesdays to sort through donations and stock the boutiques very much like a clothing store. Items are hung and folded by size and category and guests are assisted in selecting the items they need. There are also volunteers who sort donations in the central warehouse and additional boutiques in the Men’s Center and Mother’s and Children’s Center. Donated clothing (in good condition) provides a basic need while also giving our guests a sense of confidence and dignity.
“It’s not just a job, it’s a joy.” Motivated by a calling to feed the hungry, Hal began interacting with the Mission by donating food. Over time he saw one of our newsletters requesting a warehouse volunteer and coming from 32 years of warehouse management, Hal knew this was a perfect fit. In the warehouse he assists the staff with receiving donations, inventorying the materials that come in, and keeping things organized. Hal also assists former guests in picking out furniture and other household necessities when they move into stable housing. He says that “waiting on the people who have successfully accomplished getting off the street and have a place to go they can call their own’’ is the most rewarding thing he does at the Mission. After the COVID-19 precautions have been lifted, the Mission looks forward to again receiving donations of furniture and housewares in good condition and suitable for small apartments.
6. Life Change
Charlie has been volunteering at the Mission for a little over three years and is an avid runner and biker. Along with his two shifts in the clothing boutique, he has been leading a physical activity class for the men in our Life Change program. Now eleven years sober, he says, “I always wanted to do a run/walk class for people in recovery. I know how it helped me.” Charlie views every chance he gets with the Life Change men as church, taking every opportunity to mentor and grow with those around him. “We encourage one another, that’s what we do here at the Eugene Mission.”
Randy, who has served over 1,200 hours at the Mission, does many different things on our campus, but spends most of his time behind the wheel. Six days a week we have trucks and vans driving to stores all around Eugene and Springfield picking up food for our kitchen. In addition, Randy also assists with delivering furniture to our guests who have moved into stable housing. Oftentimes when our drivers go out on their routes, a guest will accompany them. This is a great opportunity for volunteers to connect with our guests on a deeper level. When asked why he serves, Randy said, “Faith is dead without works; works are dead without faith. Faith is the cause, work is the effect.”
Health and Safety Update
Upon publication of this newsletter, we are in unprecedented times with the pandemic COVID-19. At the Eugene Mission we have implemented enhanced practices to minimize the risks associated with respiratory and other illnesses, including COVID-19, for our guests and those serving at the Eugene Mission. We have so appreciated the vital service of our volunteers while we take measures to reduce risk by suspending tours, volunteer shifts, and outside nonessential services for the coming weeks. Our men in the Life Change program will be stepping up to assist our staff during these challenging days. It has been a blessing to see their willingness, determination, and commitment to sobriety and hard work! We appreciate your prayers and continued financial support as we continue to serve our overnight guests with safety.
Volunteer Coordinator: Cody Meyer
Cody Meyer coordinating and working hard during Annual Christmas Dinner.Growing up in a small town, I did not have much exposure to the homelessness crisis, but that changed drastically during my eight years in Portland. During this time I witnessed the hardships that people experiencing homelessness are facing. While attaining my degree in Christian ministry, I had the opportunity to intern with several organizations that worked with the unhoused population. From the first time I shared a meal with someone experiencing homelessness, I knew I had found my calling.
One of my greatest joys in life is helping people feel loved and cared for and inviting others to do the same. In my role as volunteer coordinator for the Eugene Mission, I get to do both. So many members of our community see people affected by homelessness and want to help but don’t know how. I have the opportunity every day to meet with kind and caring people and guide them into positions of service. If you have ever had your heart moved by someone living on the streets, it would be my pleasure to help find the perfect opportunity for you to serve. We look forward to working side by side again after the health precautions have been lifted.
– Cody Meyer
- Canola Oil (large containers)
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Tomato Sauce (large containers)
- Peanut Butter
- Lasanga Noodles
- Spices: Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
- Good Vegetable Knives
Health & Hygiene
- Latex Gloves: M, L, XL
- OTC Pain Medication (ibuprofen)
- First Aid Supplies
- Laundry Soap & Dish Soap
- Paper Towels
- Women’s Hygiene Products
Activities & Classes
- Sewing Notions
- Sewing Machines
- Adult Bicycles
- Board Games
- Craft Supplies & Kits
- Rhythm & String Instruments
- Men’s Shoes (sizes 9-13)
- Men’s Jeans (sizes 32”-36”)
- Sports Bras
- New Underwear
Please pray for the health and safety of our guests, volunteers and staff during this unprecedented season. Please pray for continued financial support of our daily operations during this challenging time.
Remember the Eugene Mission in your Estate Planning
Planning for your future? Leave a legacy! Please remember us in your will. For those wishing to designate Eugene Mission as the beneficiary in a will or other instrument, please reference: Eugene Mission, FEIN #93-0563797.