By Sean Mundy
On Monday, Nov. 26, seven young adults from the DYA Chicago group entered into an experience not quite knowing what to expect. We knew we were being invited to do service by setting up an overnight shelter for the homeless of Oak Park, Illinois. The site was at the First United Methodist church, which sets up a temporary overnight shelter each night of the week for homeless through an organization called West Suburban Pads. Upon arrival, we started helping set up the sleeping pads for the guests that night.
We made sure the mattress pads had pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels. There were to be about 60 guests that night. After the pads were set up, we assisted the dinner crew in various tasks to ensure that the guests would have enough food and drink. The other volunteers (who seemed to do this regularly) were a well-oiled machine,each providing food and drink and each completing their assigned duties (preparing salad, heating up lasagna, making the vegetables, pouring out the milk, juice, or water into pitchers, etc.). Then the guests began arriving as we brought out the meal. The people we were serving were so appreciative.
I didn’t think “you’re welcome” was an appropriate response for the many thanks that the people we were serving were offering. I just wanted to tell them that I appreciated their company as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
The night was about much more than a temporary bed, a hot meal, or a game being played. It was about relationships, human dignity, and love. This is certainly not a service trip we are likely to forget. For more information about how to help this amazing organization, visit their web site.