Please take a moment to reflect on this story about our PADS mission:
“Today was one of those really beautiful early spring afternoons. You know the kind, where finally the pall of winter seems to be lifting. It may only be in the low 50s, but it feels like 70. The sun is shining with a light that seems to dance. The air smells crisp and clean. It was the kind of day where you can feel hopeful about whatever it is that may be troubling you. It was no surprise as I pulled up to the PADS shelter, then, to hear kids playing outside. Their laughter, though, was intermingled with laughter of a deeper octave, combined with calls to “Go long!” and praises such as, “Good catch!...” and more laughter. As I carried food into the shelter, I realized the kids I heard were the young boys that have been staying at PADS for most of this season. I figured they must be tossing the pigskin with their dad until I came around the corner and saw they were not playing with their dad (Dad arrived from work moments later…) but with other guys who’ve been staying in the shelter with them. If you could pluck these people out of this setting just outside of a homeless shelter and drop them into some other surrounding, they could be neighbors enjoying a block party or family members at a picnic. And, I suppose in a very real sense, they have become like family to each other. While we volunteers weave in and out of their community on the weekly or monthly basis that we help at PADS, these adults and children have shared evening meals and living space with each other, in some cases, for many months now. The relationships they’ve formed together as they share meals and conversation around the PADS dinner table every night during this long frigid winter are evident today. The children have been cared for not only by their parents and volunteers but by these new friends who probably feel more like family. PADS guests have been known to help the kids with homework, play games with them, work on puzzles and, on at least one occasion I’m aware of, a fellow PADS guest bought them juice boxes and snacks.
“Homeless” is not an adjective that anyone wants to claim. But, isn’t it a wonderful testament to the human spirit that even in the worst of times, we are capable of such kindness and caring for others? I don’t know why or how any of our guests became homeless. I know that each of them really would like this difficult chapter to end. Still, I am thankful, that during this season when we have had children in need of a warm place to sleep at night that they have been surrounded by some guardian angels disguised as homeless men and women.”
Thank you Denise Gaska for sharing that beautiful moment with all of us.!