I was quite surprised this past week as I was getting congratulations on my LinkedIN account for a work anniversary. While I love hearing from folks I have not seen in a long time, all I could think was “Work anniversary? What work anniversary?”
I have had my own company, 3Deers.com, LLC for about two and a half years, but the messages were talking about a five year anniversary. LinkedIN is a great tool or business, but I had not logged in for a while and was not getting my regular updates, so I figured I better check.
St. Laurence Chapel Center for the Homeless and Hungry (www.stlaurencechapel.org). That was the magical answer and one I forgot about as an anniversary. I am on the Board of Directors (volunteer) for St. Laurence Chapel, not an actual employee, but since I registered this on LinkedIN, it was considered an official anniversary. This gave me a great opportunity to reflect.
Five years ago I was asked to join the Board of Directors for St. Lawrence Chapel by Father Mark Sims, the pastor at my church, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church (www.stmandm.org). My wife, daughters and I had been part of a rotating team from this church and other Episcopal Churches to provide meals to the homeless on Sundays. St. Laurence Chapel for the Homeless and Hungry provides meals and other services during the week. Father Mark thought I could be an asset to the shelter in other ways.
During the last five years I was able to launch a website that now takes donations, a Facebook page to help bring awareness to the Shelter, along with assisting in relationships with the community, Broward Sheriff’s Office and Fund Raising projects such as our 5K Walk / Run. While there are many others on the Board of Directors who do way-way more than me, I am proud of my small contribution.
Someone asked me why… why do I have a passion for helping the homeless? Passion? Yikes, I am not so sure I would say I have a passion for helping the homeless. I think maybe a responsibility would be a more accurate description.
We’ve been pretty lucky. My wife and I work hard and have had hardships no different than many during the recent recession. Between us, we’ve still paid the mortgage and we are still going strong. There was a short period when we both had been laid off from our jobs and wondered what could happen next. But we never gave up and we are back on track now.
Maybe it is seeing how easy it can be to lose everything. I understand how people get depressed and fall into a downward spiral. I get waking up and wondering what went wrong. Fortunately, we never got close to the point of losing our home or anything like that… fortunately.
Why do we help the homeless? Maybe it is realizing everyone is not quite so fortunate. Maybe I help because… well, because I can.