Community- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interest, and goals.

When I come to work every day, I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are just as happy to see me as I am to see them. We can have anywhere between 50-80 people come through the door every day, and they are coming “home” when they come through that door. It’s a place they can relax, rest, eat, socialize, cut their hair, wash up, and enjoy being safe.

Our community is full or all walks of life. Each one is different, but we all have something in common, we need each other. I can sit and watch these people be themselves, and have other people around them that understand what they are going through. Hearing them laugh after a long cold wet weekend outside brings warmth to my heart. I can hear the joy they are sharing with each other, as well as the staff members.

I was told once “we are holding up walls to give them a space to be… to be themselves.” For me, that meant we were there to help allow someone to let down their guard for a moment, and just BE. In allowing them that space, they become a blooming flower; opening up and sharing with us their wins and failures, letting us into their lives like family. When it’s cold and wet outside, my heart is with them. I think about my community like my family.

I have had my share of ups and downs while working here, and the community has been there through it all. They have embraced me and picked me up when I fell, and rejoiced and loved me in my accomplishments. In return I have given many hugs to the ones that needed an extra lift that day, and did dances with others that have great things happening in their lives. When you begin to see the same faces on a daily basis, you begin to know personalities. You know who is gonna say what, and which one you can get a laugh from. I need each personality in my life, personally, to make my day complete.

Working in the kitchen, I’ve gotten to know our community in a different way; through their stomachs. We have our diabetics, our carrot allergies, our lactose intolerant, the ones that will eat anything as well as the ones who are picky. I find that knowing all these individuals and what they like or don’t like, brings me that much closer to them, and remembering all these things shows that I care for each of them, just like if they were my own family. They aren’t given many choices outside of Love Wins, so we give them as many choices as possible. I make lots of meals, and each is thought out carefully to make sure everyone is able to eat. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it can always be done.

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