What’s your favorite event/program?
Without a doubt, Operation Holiday! There’s such a wide range of things going on and ways to help. From accepting applications in November, to helping with distribution in December, I really enjoy the different ways I get to help. People don’t know who I used to be. To them I’m just a nice guy helping out, but I used to be on the other side of all of it. I actually was homeless for a period of time, I got into some trouble, was suffering from addiction and was in a really low place. Actually, if it wasn’t for some of the people at HK, I wouldn’t be here today. I love to give back and help because there were people there for me when I was in a low place and it’s just my way of paying it forward. I guess I just want to bless others, and seeing the smiles on people’s faces and their genuine gratitude means the world to me. Something so small to us, has such a large impact on the people we serve through OH.
Can you think of a specific anecdote or story?
I can’t think of just one… I just really care about the relationships. That’s what it’s really all about. Jane Frederick was my first ever volunteer coordinator when I started volunteering for OH. She really went above and beyond and taught me how to be a leader, how to care about people and that’s something I’ve taken with me all these years. IFM [now HumanKind Ministries] took me in, they took care of me, and gave me a hand up to get back on my feet. I’m not sure I would be here today if it wasn’t for IFM and all the amazing people who helped me. There are so many people that come in to fill out applications at the Enrichment center each year who I have built these relationships with, year over year, and that’s why I do it, for the people and for the relationships. It’s easy to judge, but with HK, we accept everyone, we take in those who have nothing and help them, and it’s something that’s really special to be a part of.
What programs are you involved with at HK?
I truly love OH, it’s something I look forward to every year. I get to run one of the application sites at the enrichment center, and also help with check-in at distribution. Helping so many people and giving back is really why I keep coming back to Operation Holiday every year.