It’s that time of year when we start getting ready to shut down for our summer break. We close every August to give our volunteers (and me) a chance to relax and unwind. The work we do and the stories we hear day in day out can sometimes be challenging; we encounter so many people in dire situations – health issues, homelessness, deaths of loved ones, victims of crimes, poverty, impending evictions or utility disconnections.
Now and again we’ll get someone at the door who is very difficult to deal with. I remind our volunteers that so many of our guests are dealing with difficulties most of us will never encounter. When I complain that I’m hungry, it’s just that I haven’t taken the time to eat. When a guest at the door is hungry and moody, it’s because they don’t have access to food. I’ve seen guests open a bag of food we hand them and start eating it immediately. (And by the way, I, too, can get cranky when I haven’t eaten.) If I’m out of sorts because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep, it wasn’t because I didn’t have a bed or a roof over my head. If my gas tank is on empty, it’s because I didn’t stop at the gas station when I should have. If the lights are out at my house, it’s because there was a power outage in the neighborhood, not because I didn’t pay the bill.
Taking the month of August off gives us all time to recharge our batteries and get back to work in September. We come back refreshed and ready to get back to business. We also have time off at Christmas and at Easter; these breaks also come at a time when we need to step back and recharge.
Since we will be closing soon, I’d like to ask that you try and bring in any donations you want to drop off this week – Monday through Thursday, 9am-11am. The following week we’ll be tidying up and getting things settled before we close as of July 28.