Volunteer Stories

See how others, just like you, are volunteering and making a difference in the lives of Louisville’s homeless population!  

An Enlightening Community Partnership Between Two Good Neighbors.

Jefferson Community and Technical College, our “neighbor to the north,” is situated across the street from the mission’s Hotel Louisville. Over the years, JCTC and Wayside Christian Mission have enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial relationship.

 

Led by instructor Leslie White-Weibel, about fifty JCTC nursing students hosted a health fair for the benefit of women and men enrolled in the mission’s Sober Living Program.

 

The students covered a number of topics including hypertension, diabetes, stress management, obesity, and fitness. To their credit, the students arrived well-prepared with their displays and materials and they did a masterful job in engaging our clients.

 

In the end, our clients benefited from these timely presentations and the students gained this “real world” experience. The beloved writer Charles Dickens believed that ignorance and want were mankind's two greatest enemies.

 

Though our approaches are different, both JCTC and Wayside Christian Mission exist to combat these social evils.

Creative Eighth-Grader Presents Mission With Unusual Classroom Project

If you had four hundred disposable plastic bags, an abundance of hand and eye coordination, and twenty hours to spare, you, too, could weave an unbelievably comfortable pillow for a homeless person just like Olivia.

Some explanation is needed. As her school project, Olivia crafted a durable pillow capable of withstanding the rigors of the outdoors from plastic bags previously destined for the local landfill.

The pillow is a lesson in recycling and, again, is a one-of-a-kind pillow that can hold up to moisture, mildew, and extreme weather conditions.

And, yes, the pillow is really comfortable. Olivia is an eighth grader from Sacred Heart Academy. According to her mother, Olivia is highly artistic. For the record, her grandfather was an animator for Hanna Barbera Studios. As for the pillow, it will be given to an unsheltered homeless person.

Highland Latin School’s American Heritage Girls Bless Mission with “Blessing Bags”

Often dubbed as “blessing bags,” these parcels contain water, granola bars, socks, and toiletries that are distributed among the unsheltered homeless by our Samaritan Patrol drivers.

Recently, a group of American Heritage Girls from Highlands Latin School delivered 125 blessing bags to the mission.

For the record, Highlands Latin School is a private Christian school that promotes intellectual development along with a sound understanding of this nation’s Christian heritage. During their visit to the mission, these extraordinarily bright, polite, and inquisitive students and their parents showed a keen interest in our work with the homeless individuals and families in our care as well as the unsheltered homeless living on the streets.

 

We are grateful for the generosity of the girls and their families and hope they will come back and see us again!

Ambitious Eagle Scout Project Blesses Mission’s Homeless Population

Joshua, a ninth-grade student from Jeffersontown High, has been a Boy Scout since the second grade. To earn his Eagle Scout designation, he collected enough toiletries to make over two hundred gift bags for the women, men, boys and girls of Wayside Christian Mission.

Assembling two hundred plus gift bags is certainly an ambitious project, but, thankfully, Joshua had some help from other Scouts as well as support from his family. With some six hundred individuals and families in our care, we welcomed Joshua’s hard work and generosity and, in the past, we have also been blessed by other amazing Eagle Scout projects.

 

Joshua’s goal is to become an architect and, based on his drive and determination, we believe he will achieve his goals.

Bellarmine University Students Fight Waste and Hunger with Late Night Food Deliveries

Just a few years ago, four students from the University of Maryland in College Park could no longer ignore the great quantity of student cafeteria food being tossed out night after night.

The students took action and, twelve months later, the discarded food was now being transformed into 30,000 meals annually for the homeless and needy in the Washington, D.C area.

Today, there are over two hundred Food Recovery Network chapters at colleges and universities in forty four states. For three years, students from Bellarmine University have delivered quality, wholesome, and well-prepared meals from their school cafeteria to Wayside Christian Mission.

 

These twice-a-week food deliveries generally take place at night and require an ongoing commitment from the participating students who interrupt their busy schedules for the cause of ending hunger in Louisville. Each day, Wayside Christian Mission serves two thousand meals.

No other kitchen in Louisville serves as many free meals to our neighbors in need. We are certainly grateful to these students for standing with us in the fight against hunger.

Meet Bettie:
Our Invisible Volunteer.

We really do not know much about Bettie. She is retired. She is unable to drive. As far as we know, Bettie has never set foot on the mission’s property, yet she is proving to be a faithful volunteer.

Bettie enjoys making beautifully-crafted crocheted items— scarves, mittens, and afghans.

These cheerfully colored wearable treasures are meticulously hand-assembled and then sent to the mission through the mail. Some are given to the ladies in our recovery program while other items are distributed among the patients residing in Hotel Louisville’s Hospital Hospitality House.

 

Bettie has proven that anyone can volunteer—even those who may lack mobility. With needles and yarn and a willing heart, Bettie is making life brighter for people who are in need of hope.

 

Please visit our website and discover how you can become a valuable volunteer, too.

Sacred Heart Academy and Nativity Academy Students Explore Issues of Poverty and Homelessness

Sacred Heart Academy is a Catholic, all-girls high school whose students, in 2015, earned more than $29 million in college scholarships—the highest of any all-girls parochial school in Louisville.

Their students’ ACT scores are nearly six points higher than the state’s average. Nativity Academy at St. Boniface was established as an independent private middle school in the Catholic tradition to educate urban youth in a small school environment.

 

Recently, students from both schools collected hundreds of pairs of socks and other cold-weather clothing articles for Louisville’s needy and delivered these to Wayside Christian Mission. During their visit, the students eagerly participated in a question and answer session with one of the mission’s staff members and demonstrated a keen insight into understanding the issues of poverty and addiction.

 

We commend these schools for raising future leaders in our community.

Nurse Practitioner is Angel of Mercy

Carrie is a nurse practitioner, wife, mother of two young boys, and a member of Southeast Christian Church. She has also been a life-saver at the Wayside Rescue Station, the mission’s low barrier shelter.

 

Besides blood pressure screenings, checking vital signs, and addressing health and wellness related questions, Carrie has been an advocate for some of our more vulnerable residents.

 

Her approachable, easy-going personality is matched only by her undaunted willingness to serve—even if the service means getting her hands dirty, so to speak.

 

Carrie is one of the many faithful volunteers who stand with us as we care for our community’s poorest and neediest neighbors.

PB & J, Anyone?

James A. Garfield, the nation’s twentieth president, was a champion of civil rights and an enemy of political corruption.

 

Judging by his portly waistline, Garfield must have had a keen appetite along with an even keener sense of humor, for he once said, “Man shall not live on bread alone. He must have peanut butter.”

 

Speaking of peanut butter, Luke Malone from the University of Louisville’s Catholic Campus Ministry, helped in organizing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich brigade at the university’s Interfaith Center.

The towering stacks of PB & J sandwiches were then delivered to the Wayside Rescue Station to be enjoyed by the women and men in our low barrier shelter. Many thanks to the students who made sandwiches for those in our care.

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