Bea's RITI Story
I know many times I have imagined what life is like for the homeless. What do they eat, where do they sleep, who do they talk to, do they ever experience comfort?
Many of us take for granted the very simple things that bring us comfort in our everyday lives—the homeless do not. UCC member, Bea Smith, shares her experience with volunteering at Room in the Inn and the impact on a homeless guest she witnessed firsthand.
AJ (not his real name) came to Room in the Inn newly homeless. He had lost his furniture business and things had deteriorated from there. He was angry, very angry. He complained about our church facilities, questioned the volunteers' sincerity and snapped at his fellow guests—but he kept coming back. Over time, he relaxed and seemed relieved to be there. AJ began seeking me out for conversation. He regaled me with stories, discussed current events and even cracked the occasional joke. One day, another guest volunteered to lead the prayer we say before we eat. The guest praised the volunteers and the Room in the Inn program. Afterwards, AJ came over to me, grasped my hand, and said, "Ditto what he said and so much more. You have no idea how much you're appreciated." Room in the Inn provides a valuable ministry—a respite from the incredible stress of being homeless, a quiet place to relax and visit and so much more.
For 10 years, University Christian Church has responded to the very real need of homeless persons for inclusion and affirmation. Twenty-two nights a year, ten different guests spend the night and enjoy dinner and breakfast. UCC volunteers not only give but also receive inspiration, compassion, and fellowship. Room in the Inn is about ordinary people loving their neighbors in extraordinary ways—welcoming and accepting people exactly as they are is the greatest gift any of us can give.
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