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“You Can Count on Me”

Dylan Novacek March 27, 2020

Sara McMullen, Donor Spotlight
Written by Dylan Novacek, Content Specialist

“Witnessing families with children go without a stable home made me realize how important this work is. And I want to see that it continues.”

A retired teacher, Sara McMullen of First Universalist, Minneapolis has always been someone her students and their families can count on. Working with children from different backgrounds, Sara understands how having a stable home can change a child’s life for the better. When her congregation joined Beacon, Sara stepped up as a monthly donor to ensure all families have a home.

“Growing up in Oakland, California I had a comfortable home. While I was in college studying to become a teacher, my eyes were opened to the fact that so many families lived in substandard housing,” Sara paused, reflecting on her experiences doing home visits for students who came from struggling families.

“Some people’s electrical cords would connect to the neighbor’s house. Some children in my classroom lived in cars. This was all happening a block away from my college,” Sara said with urgency in her voice, highlighting the fact that homelessness lives in all of our communities.

Seeing the need for sustainable housing has motivated Sara to give back. With Beacon, she is able to step up for home. Whether it’s her sustained giving each month, coming to the Capitol to meet with representatives, volunteering on the luncheon committee, or hosting families through Beacon’s Families Moving Forward shelter program, Sara can always be counted on.

“Initially, I didn’t know how to get involved with the issue of homelessness, it just seemed so overwhelming. But Beacon gives us this amazing structure to give back. The scope of this work is important to me. It impacts so many families!”

As a host volunteer with the shelter program, Sara has had stand out experiences that make her feel proud in her monthly donation to Beacon.

“The families are so happy to have their own rooms and a comfortable place to stay. Home brings privacy and safety. We are so glad to offer that to families,” she smiled. “A couple former teachers who I volunteer with got to set up rooms for the families. I wanted to make it as comfortable as possible for the children and their parents.”

One night of shelter takes $50 per person; that’s about $1000 per week per family. Sara’s monthly donation is incredibly important as it gives shelter and professional staff support to help the families her congregations hosts. Having donors and volunteers like Sara helps Beacon continue to serve families in need. Beacon can truly do so much more when these consistent monthly gifts come in.

“It helps when you have friends who support this work too,” Sara said, placing a spotlight on the phenomenal volunteers she has worked with. “One night there was this toddler who just wanted his mom. One of the volunteers was able to calm him down and play with him. It just warmed my heart.”

“Beacon has taught me what it really means to be an ally,” she said, feeling proud of her contributions. “I am totally committed to Beacon! I give every month so families are able to be sheltered.”

It takes a strong collaborative, passionate volunteers, and people like Sara to help provide shelter and homes to families in need. Through a sustained Beacon gift, we can fulfill our vision that all people have a home, because we know that there are people in the community, like Sara, who have our back.

“You can always count of me for support!”


Want to help provide shelter for a family in need? Click here to donate to Beacon today!