Thank you to Gerry and Messiah United Methodist Church VolunteersPosted on April 8th, 2019
Simpson volunteer Gerry, a retired teacher and salesman, has been serving meals to guests at Simpson’s shelter with several faith communities for 20 years. With a chuckle, Gerry illustrates how long he has been at Simpson: “When I started volunteering with Simpson, the sinks in the kitchen were the only way to wash the dishes. It’s great to have a dishwasher now.”
Gerry volunteers at Simpson because service is at the core of what he believes. “Your faith journey is not something you just do on Sunday. To be Christ’s hands and feet — this is what you do — help and serve. Having personally experienced homelessness and lived in his car for three weeks as a younger adult, he has empathy and compassion for people who are facing a similar situation. “To be homeless was a scary and eye-opening experience. And ever since it has been a concern near and dear to my heart,” he says.
With Gerry’s leadership, Messiah United Methodist Church has been sending a group of meal serving volunteers to Simpson’s shelter on a monthly basis for the last six years. Gerry shares that their number of volunteers has dwindled in recent years, but no matter what, Messiah UMC has maintained its devotion to Simpson’s shelter guests by providing hot meals and smiling and compassionate volunteers for each of their meal serving dates.
Three times per month, the Messiah UMC volunteer team has delivered in-kind donations to Simpson. Guided by a weekly email that outlines what is currently needed at Simpson’s shelter and housing programs, church members bring needed toiletry, clothing, and other basic needs items into the church and place them in a barrel labeled “Simpson donations”. Inspired by the Final Four basketball tournament, Messiah UMC encouraged donors to bring items in four categories: toiletries, sheet sets, long underwear, and hats and gloves.
Gerry notes that Messiah UMC’s ongoing donation drive to Simpson has been an excellent way to include people of all ages in giving. Often different groups within the church suggest bringing a donation to Simpson when attending a church activity. “Our senior group enjoys giving to Simpson. Some people in the group may have wheelchairs and walkers, yet they can still fully participate in this service activity,” says Gerry.
Grateful for the time he has served with Simpson. Gerry supports the organization’s values, mission, and approach to ending homelessness: “Simpson will always tell you, when you have a home, that’s the bedrock from which everything else comes from. To end homelessness would go so far in ending so many of our problems. If we find people a home, they will have a leg up, and be successful in the community.”