Life is full of changes. Read how Jill volunteered with Clothing the Homeless and found new perspective.
As my children were getting older and their need for my time and attention shifted I needed to put that energy into something that would give my life new purpose and meaning. After hearing Mitch’s vision for the Clothing The Homeless ministry I felt like it was the perfect place to use my skills of organization. My sister and I showed up one day to serve and have been back every week since. I look forward to spending time in the warehouse listening to good tunes, laughing and working towards a greater purpose. Knowing that my efforts will be used to make another persons life a little better gives me great joy. It’s such a small change in my everyday week, but it has made a huge impact on my life and overall perspective.
The experience of a new volunteer at a recent clothing distribution at Lighthouse Church
Mitch Raff, from Clothing the Homeless (CTH), asked me to take some photos of him and the CTH volunteers distributing clothing, shoes, backpacks and toiletries to those less fortunate. I was intrigued by Mitch’s commitment to the ministry and the CTH organization, so I decided that by taking some photos I would be able to see firsthand what Mitch was doing.
I didn’t think it would take too much time to take some pictures of them setting up and then distributing the items so I told Mitch I would take pictures for him. I arrived at noon; I figured I would be done by 1:30. The distribution process consists of being greeted by the volunteers and then personally taken through the line. The client is given as much of the items they need.
I couldn’t tear myself away watching the volunteers interact with these clients, providing them with words of encouragement and prayers. I witnessed each client treated with dignity, kindness and compassion as they received their items.
Kim Del Valle
Special clothing donation to the homeless around a hospital in Portland Oregon.
In early December 2015, one of our volunteers at Clothing the Homeless heard from a relative in Oregon about a Hospital who served the homeless in the Portland area, but they were running out of warm clothes to give to the homeless. It turns out that when a homeless person is admitted for medical treatment, their clothes are taken and exchanged for clean dry clothes, but last December they were running out of clothes. The CTH volunteers took it upon themselves to start a drive among family and friends to collect clothes for the hospital. Sue Sonnenberg heard about the need and donated jackets and other warm clothes to the homeless in Oregon. The problem next was how to get the clothes to Portland Oregon. Thanks to an anonymous donor, who paid for the shipping, the clothes were shipped to the hospital to the delight of the staff there. The staff at the hospital had never received such a large donation of clothes for their patients and were very grateful to all the donors and volunteers who made it happen. They took the following pictures and sent the thank you card to show their gratitude. Thanks to the volunteers and donors, the homeless in the coldest parts of Portland were warm this winter.
Donations shipped Donations arrived
Donations unpacked for storage
Ecstatic and thankful hospital staff
Thank you card from the hospital staff.
Check out a new article we linked to on why people become homeless
Why average People Like You and me Become Homeless
Check out this article on why average people like you and me fall into a vicious cycle that ends in being homeless.
I believe that most people have many of these factors in their life now, but none of them has started the spiral, yet.
Click here to read the article.
Young man struggling with addiction gives his life to Jesus at the Mental Health Distribution.
It was another beautiful day as our team of volunteers set out to dispense clothing, hope, and the love of Jesus to the homeless people at Santa Ana’s MHA Drop-in Center. One of my favorite parts of these outings is witnessing volunteers make contact with the people being served. The most basic human kindness–eye contact, a smile, a genuine interest in their wellbeing–it makes a visible impact upon these who are so often invisible to our community. That’s what was happening in the September distribution–the love was flowing and hearts were being warmed.
He said, “Well, I for sure could do that!” and he did. Right there at the end of the clothing distribution line, Bill’s eternity took a turn toward Jesus. He walked away, not only with clothing to put on his back, but clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ–a new creation! Thank you, Clothing the Homeless, for giving us the opportunity to bless others as we have been blessed.
Mike and the Suitcase
We have come to know a homeless man named Mike who shows up at almost every distribution we have at the Civic Center. Anyone who has served for any length of time has met Mike. He is a kind, older gentleman who likes to talk and get to know you and does not accept any clothes unless he absolutely needs it.
At the July distribution Mike arrived a little late. When it was his turn, he asked for a backpack and turned around to show his backpack which was ripped and falling apart. I looked in the bag that contains backpack and by then we ran out. Mike did not seem disappointed because he is always grateful for everything he receives. I told him to try to arrive early in August and hopefully by then, we will have more backpacks. Well the August distribution arrived and so did Mike, only this time he had a different backpack that was not new, but in good condition. This time Mike asked for a small suitcase on wheels with a handle so he would not have to carry so many bags of his recyclables and possessions. Unfortunately we did not have any suitcases, so again Mike did not receive the item he desperately needed. I told him we will try to get him one for the September distribution so try to arrive early. He said thank you and turned and left with his many bundles. I told Sue what happened and she said she would try to find a suitcase for him, but it might take a while because we do not receive many of them as donations.. That night, when Sue arrived home, she found a blue suitcase with wheels and a handle (exactly as Mike requested), sitting at her front door. A neighbor, who knows about Sue’s involvement in the Clothing The Homeless ministry, dropped it off at her front door. This unexpected surprise was truly Gods answer to Mike’s request for a suitcase.
Experiences of the Concordia students that served at the June 15th Civic Center distribution.
The most valuable experience was seeing the men and women’s faces after we gave them clothing. They were so grateful it was almost heartbreaking because they appreciated everything done for them. It made me realize how lucky and blessed I am to have what I have. – AH
Every day I take for granted the fact that I can wash my hair and brush my teeth without ever thinking of how I’m going to access shampoo or toothpaste. It was very eye opening to be able to provide those things for someone that normally has to go without it. I was struck by how grateful a lot of these people were to be receiving clothing. Even if I told them that I was volunteering and not actually donating the clothing myself, I still kept hearing what a “blessing” we all were to be there. I spoke with one man that told me he had been in the marines and went to Iraq in the first desert storm mission. When he told me he was in the military we were looking for shorts for him. I pulled out the camouflage shorts and realized that they were his size. He was so thrilled to have them and kept saying that it was so fitting since he served. After he got his clothes and received prayer I asked him about his experience in the war. Before he left, I thanked him for serving and he grabbed my hand and gave me a hug. He sounded so thankful to hear those words from someone, since most people only see him as homeless and not as a veteran. This experience gave me a whole new outlook on the homeless population and I look forward to working with them again. – HB
At this event, I was really able to see the impact that the clothing had on the people that needed it. This was the first donation based volunteer event where I felt that the people were truly grateful for what they had been given. I did not interact with a single person that acted ungrateful, or that did not thank and bless us. I was initially nervous for this event because I have never worked with the homeless and I’m really glad that I had this experience because it showed me how rewarding it can be. – HB
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sue in keeping this project open and running for the past nine years. It’s a testament to her passion to help those in need. – AC
The most valuable experience for me was being able to pray with the individuals. I have never prayed over someone before. To be able to see the appreciation of the people and how much closer it brought me to the person, it was priceless. At first I was not sure what I would say, because I am normally praying for my family and friends and not for a stranger who I am not sure about what he needs. But while I was praying it just came to me and it was amazing. – ML