By: Luis Chacon
Province Coordinator for Volunteers
On December 19th, 2021 Salesian Volunteers, representatives from Saint Joseph Salesian Retreat House and Restless Hearts Foundation had our monthly Homeless Outreach.
In the Province we have our Missionary Animation Team that coordinates the various missionary volunteer activities. I am proud to introduce Tamara Tran, who is an educator and active member of the Saint Joseph Salesian Retreat House. Now Tamara is a member of the Missionary Animation Team and she shares with us her experience from our last missionary volunteer activity at Skid Row.
It’s been so life giving and healing serving our marginalized friends. There were many resistance from family, friends to not venture to Skid Row, but I go where the spirit calls me.
So many encounters and life giving opportunities while ministering to our homeless. So on our last outreach on Sunday, December 19th, I connected with Kevin from Catch 21 Seafood Restaurant and saw that they were having an event. So after attending mass at 9:30 am, I had just finished 33 days of consecration to St. Joseph and requested for adoration to celebrate, so peaceful spending time in silence with our Lord.
After we waited for Juan with Restless Hearts Foundation to drop off the sandwiches, we started packing supplies of clothes, cup of noodles, shoes, blankets anything that people donated. We arrived at Catch 21, Luis and his team went out to the streets in Skid Row to pass out food, Stephanie and I stayed to hand out clothes.
There were many organizations there to pass out supplies. It was very heartwarming seeing so many pitching in time and talent gathering for a great cause for the winter season to spread some Christmas cheers.
It was a little chaotic getting directives as to where to set up, parking, supplies, but by 2pm it all came together, flowed smoothly. What I took away from this event is the love of humanity for our marginalized friends. What broke my heart was seeing little kids and babies who are in these situations. Our friends were very respectful, appreciative and for the most part calm. I really enjoyed talking with them and asking if they need prayers. They ask for peace, safety, and a better place.
A particular encounter stayed with me. A beautiful African descendent with beautiful green eyes mom had a baby boy 1 year old and was pregnant. She was having issues with baby daddy. The struggle is truly real.
The day was long, we started with adoration, then closed with prayers. Our street evangelization left Stephanie and I stayed until no more “shoppers at our section. We shared a salmon plate and headed home.
It’s been so life giving and brought so much joy in my life. Through the networking and witnessing the generosity of the haves for the have nots. The faith and joy from our friends on the streets and stark difference of mental health and addictions.
As I and fellow volunteers continue to tirelessly labor in love because “The harvest is plentiful and laborers few.” May I continue to be inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit in helping those who are going through tough times. Come Holy Spirit come lead me, guide me, protect me and inspire me with your love and light!