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Showing Up
May 13, 2019

Peg Mitchell wants to help as many people as she can by showing up.

Peg, a retiree and a member of First Universalist Church in Minneapolis, is part of a congregation that wants to tackle the root causes of homelessness and poverty. Peg is on board in seeking out the "whys" of injustice, but she also wants to attend to the physical needs of people at the moment. "As our congregation was working to 'wake up,' I also felt a need to 'show up,'" she says.

Peg has shown up by being a part of hosting guests through Families Moving Forward since First Universalist became a collaborating congregation in 2015. She served as host coordinator from 2015 to 2017 and remains involved today. Showing up means doing things that can bring some sunshine for the guest, especially the children, at a time when their lives are so chaotic. She can remember seeing kids becoming excited at the sight of colorful bedding. Peg remembers a Memorial Day picnic for the guests where the children played relay games and frolicked in the pool. The sight of happy kids also made their parents glad. "One of the parents commented that it was the best Memorial Day he could remember."

But showing up also means helping families as they deal with the stresses of experiencing homelessness. Peg knows guests can face major struggles which can test patience and drain energy. She has learned to not take it personally and continues to be there for them during a challenging time.

Peg continues to support Families Moving Forward by being a backup for the current host coordinators, driven by the same desire since she was a host coordinator: providing hospitality to people in need. Peg believes showing up by being hospitable has the power of changing lives. "I believe hospitality is a wonderful way to show support and build community."

Dennis Sanders
Dennis Sanders is the Content Specialist for Beacon.