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Volunteers move us forward
April 8, 2014

By Lee Blons |

How can I express gratitude for Beacon volunteers without sounding trite?

Consider the many ways volunteers invest their time here:

They call, count, file, stuff, fold, wash, bake, make beds, plan, speak, write letters, telephone, email, craft, dig, read, color, plant, clean, proofread.

Decide, negotiate, question, answer, table, rally, listen.


Sort: blankets, books, clothing, diapers, sheets, towels, toothbrushes.

Conduct inventory of supplies. Do assembly-line nametag-making. Train other volunteers. Speak from their hearts at fundraising events. Speak from their hearts to legislators, council members, county commissioners making funding decisions about affordable housing.

Hold squirmy children when their arms are tired. Prepare and serve mouthwatering dinners and sometimes, special-order breakfasts. Play games. Listen to families, teens, adults who have experienced homelessness. Probably they wonder what to say or how to respond – and they think of something. Offer prayers.

Exercise patience.

Ask hard questions. Stay late at meetings. Reach out to share their passion for creating housing, ending homelessness, making life better for those without home.

Believe in home.

It’s fitting that during National Volunteer Week we recognize the countless ways volunteers support families experiencing homelessness and move us closer to ending homelessness. We thank those who lead our board, housing task forces, event and program committees for their significant commitment. We are grateful for volunteers’ willingness to educate and influence friends, family and policy makers and funders about homelessness. We are deeply moved by their willingness to do whatever needs to be done – large or small.

Without volunteers, we could not create the world in which we want to live. With them, we’re on our way. 

Lee Blons
Lee is Beacon's executive director.