In ‘Man's Search For Meaning', Viktor Frankl wrote that doing something to help others brings more meaning and joy to your life.
When people start helping down here at the Mission, I've noticed that their lives have become richer and fuller because they have taken on more meaning as they learned to selflessly give to others.
And I do notice these changes for the better daily in both our staff and volunteers.
So I think we are on the right path.
Statistics for last year show that You (our friends and neighbors in Silver City) fed 35,261 hungry souls in the soup kitchen, handed out 5,821 food boxes to families, helped 4,892 families with clothes, sheltered anywhere from 8-16 men in the cold weather shelter, 2-8 women in the Sierra House Women's Shelter and the case worker helped 1,321 people.
But more important than the numbers are the changes in the lives of those you have helped.
Take for instance Angelica and her newborn who came to us without a place to stay soon after giving birth. We were able to help her out by providing all of life's necessities and thanks to a grant from the United Way were able get her an apartment of her own after a few months.
Or Franklyn who had drifted in from the deep South in the hopes of better job prospects. He was able to afford a small place soon after arriving but with no skills and an addiction problem he was unable to secure any employment and the money soon ran out as did his lease and he found himself on our doorstep.
We were able to feed and clothe him, get him some help with his addiction and eventually secure some part-time employment and some odd jobs for him. With this small income, he was eventually able to secure another home with a couple of other fellows and last we heard he was doing OK.
Do people who are perfectly able to get a job take advantage of our services?
Sometimes, but we try not to judge because in many (not all) cases we are able to motivate them and give them a little hope about a better life and we can move them further down their path.
But it is still a balancing act in our quest to help our neighbors, having to juggle limited resources, legalities, personalities and various belief systems.
But it is stories like those above (and these here) that truly give our lives meaning, make us better people and give us a sense of real joy.
Thank you once again, Silver City for all of the help you so graciously provide; we couldn't do any of this without you!
Please give yourselves a pat on the back and take just a moment to reflect on the true hearts of service that beat in each and every one of you and truly give your lives some meaning and joy.