Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Day In The Life Of A Volunteer

This is the story of a single volunteer. The person serves the homeless in Roseville CA. She does not live in Roseville but lives in a community near the city.

6:15 A.M. Wake up. This is hard because she was soundly asleep and her husband had to give her a gentle shake.
6:18 A.M. In the shower. The water is warm, but this is just the start of the day.
6:30 A.M. All dressed. Kiss the husband, who is still in bed, good-bye and leave for the convent in Roseville.
7:00 A.M. Arrive at the convent. Get the key to the van and unlock all the doors. Take the convent keys out and open the convent and the storage shed where the food items are kept.
7:02 A.M. Start the water heater to make the coffee and hot water. Attach the hose and drain the standing water from the coffee maker.
7:05 A.M. Go out to the van and remove the coffee and water containers and bring into the convent.
7:08 A.M. Get the hand cart from the van to carry the full coffee containers. They are heavy and go on the cart between the coffee maker and the van.
7:10 A.M. Remove the covers from the coffee maker and the wire baskets. Add a filter to the basket and fill it with four cups of ground coffee. Replace the basket into the coffee maker and notice the hot water is starting to rise in temperature, but it is not quite hot enough.
7:12 A.M. Go outside and check the van contents. Make sure that there is enough food, creamers, sugar packets, and other items to feed about 70 people.
7:15 A.M. Back inside, the water is hot enough to start making the coffee. So, turn on the water and let it flow through the coffee grounds into the tank.
7:30 A.M. There is enough coffee to start to drain some off. So, attach the hose again and let the coffee flow into the container.
7:40 A.M. The coffee container is full. So, turn off the valve, remove the hose, attach the lid, put it on the cart. Drain the excess coffee and start the hot water going into the container. Take the coffee out to the van and lift it into the van.
7:45 A.M. The hot water is full. Turn off the valve, attach the lid to the container and put it on the cart. Stat the water back into the coffee maker so that it is not left dry.
7:50 A.M. All complete. Wipe down the kitchen, check the lights are off and everything locked securely. Leave for the distribution site.
8:00 A.M. Arrive at the site. Remove the tables, sometimes with some help, put the coffee on the tables, remove the cups, creamers, sugars, tea, and other items. Prepare the side of the van for distribution.
8:04 A.M. Open the back of the van and start the process of asking people what they would like to have. Ensure that everyone signs the register so that we have a tracking of the people.
 
8:50 A.M. Announce that this is the last call for coffee. Some people fill their thermos container with what is left of the coffee. But, usually there is some small amount left to dump. Use some of the remaining hot water to wipe down the tables and put the contents back into the van. Dump the rest of the hot water.
9:00 A.M. Do a quick check to make sure that the area is clean and there is no trash left around and all is secure. Depart for the convent to return the van.
9:10 A.M. At the convent, lock everything and return the keys to their proper place.
9:15 A.M. Depart to continue with the rest of your day.

While the same person does not work every day, the organization does. This is but a brief glimpse of the process that goes on six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. We have many people who help. They all follow a schedule similar to but not exactly the same as what I described. They are all dedicated, hard-working, and caring individuals.

The post office must have taken our motto about rain, snow, sleet and shine because we are there during all weather conditions; doing our job that we have come to love each day. Each day is a fresh start.

58 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Insanity

In keeping with the fact that next month is “national mental health” month, this piece is about just the opposite. It is a way to give the impression that you need some assistance in the mental health department. Of course, it is all said in fun. I just wonder if anyone will actually do any of these things.

But, here are a few items that would raise an eyebrow or two …

  1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
  2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don’t disguise your voice.
  3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that?
  4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it “In.”
  5. Put decaffeinated coffee in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to Espresso.
  6. In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual favors
  7. Finish all your sentences with “In accordance with the prophecy.
  8. Don’t use any punctuation
  9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
  10. Ask people “what sex” they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
  11. Specify that your drive-through order is “To Go.”
  12. At the local “Burger King”, order a “Big Mac” hamburger.
  13. Sing along at the opera.
  14. Go to a poetry recital and ask “Why the poems don’t rhyme?
  15. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
  16. Five days in advance, tell your friends that you “Can’t attend their party because you’re not in the mood.
  17. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, “Rock Hard”.
  18. When the money comes out the ATM, scream “I won! I won!
  19. When leaving the zoo, start running towards your car screaming “Run for your lives, They’re loose!!
  20. Tell your children over dinner, “Due to the economy we are going to let one of you go.
  21. Put a chair facing a printer, sit there all day and tell people you’re waiting for your document.
  22. Arrive at a meeting late, say you’re sorry, but you didn’t have time for lunch, and you’re going to be nibbling during the meeting. During the meeting eat 5 entire raw potatoes.
  23. Insist that your e-mail address is “zena_goddess_of_fire@companyname.com”
  24. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask them to sign a waiver.
  25. Send an e-mail to yourself engaging yourself in an intelligent debate about the direction of one of your company’s products. Forward the mail to a co-worker and ask her to settle the disagreement.
  26. Name all your pens and insist that meetings can’t begin until they’re all present.
  27. Come to work in your pajamas.
  28. Put a picture of your mother on your business card.
  29. Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits. Always wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your boss is a different gender than you are.)
  30. Make up nicknames for all your coworkers and refer to them only by these names. “That’s a good point Sparky.” “No, I’m sorry I’m going to have to disagree with you there, Chachi.”
  31. Suggest that beer be put in the soda machine.
  32. Include a piece of your children’s artwork as a cover page for all reports that you write. (If you don’t have children, draw stick figures yourself.)
  33. Schedule meetings for 4:14 pm.
  34. Encourage your colleagues to join you in some synchronized chair dancing.
  35. Agree to organize the company Christmas party. Hold it at McDonald’s Playland. Charge everyone $15 each.
  36. Send an e-mail to the rest of the company telling them what you’re doing. For example “If anyone needs me I’ll be in the bathroom.”
  37. No matter what anyone asks you, reply “Okay.”
  38. Plant a hedge around your cubicle.
  39. Grow mold in your coffee cup.
  40. Build models of the Seven Wonders of the World using empty soda cans.
  41. Put on your headphones on whenever the boss comes into the office. Talk in a loud voice. Remove your headphones when he or she leaves.
  42. When in conversation, no matter where you are in the office, mutter, “I think my phone is ringing” and leave. Go get coffee.
  43. Determine how many cups of coffee are “too many.”
  44. Develop an unnatural fear of staplers.
  45. Compose all your e-mail in rhyming couplets.
  46. Install a set of buttons and lights in the arm of your chair.
  47. Talk into your daytimer.
  48. “Hi-lite” your shoes. Tell people that you haven’t lost your shoes since you did this.
  49. Organize a carpool. Go to pick everyone up in a taxi.
  50. E-mail nude gifs (graphic image files) of yourself to your coworkers. Tell them you got them off the Internet.
  51. Hang mistletoe over your desk.
  52. Include a personal note on every e-mail you send. “On a personal note, I’m feeling a bit tired and grumpy today.” “On a personal note, I’m pleased to announce that I got my highest score ever on Tetris last night.”
  53. Bring in dishes that you tried to cook but didn’t turn out quite right as special treats for your co-workers.
  54. While sitting at your desk, soak your fingers in “Palmolive”.
  55. Decorate your office with pictures of Cindy Brady and Danny Partridge. Try to pass them off as your children.
  56. For a relaxing break, get away from it all with a mask and snorkel in the fish tank. If no one notices, take out your snorkel and see how many you can catch in your mouth.
  57. Send e-mail messages saying free pizza, free donuts etc… in the lunchroom when people complain that there was none… Just lean back, pat your stomach, and say, “Oh you’ve got to be faster than that.”
  58. Breathe some helium and walk behind someone saying “Follow the yellow brick road”.

In The Beginning … There Was Sherry Schiele

The wheels of What Would Jesus Do, Inc. began to officially roll in 1998, fueled by the compassion and determination of one woman, Sherry Schiele. “There’s never a good reason for not helping others,” she would often say, and her legacy continues to resonate the creed that she so boldly lived and proclaimed.

In the 1980’s, Sherry became very active in personally addressing the needs of the homeless community in Roseville. As a fierce advocate for those who had no one to speak for them, Sherry often clashed with city officials in her efforts to find solutions to the problems of homelessness. In spite of objections by local bureaucrats and the many hurdles placed in her path, Sherry’s empathy and determination were never diminished.

With a degree in Social Work, she may have sought an easy job with an office with a nameplate on the door. She chose instead to make her car her mobile office during her 15 years of social outreach and advocacy. She’d drive around town and stop to talk with people living on the streets, helping each with their specific needs, one person at a time.

As she peeled back the layers of homelessness, she knew that a change in community awareness was necessary in order to address the ongoing plight of the homeless.

In 1998, with this goal in mind, she chose a name for her ministry that would reflect the very principles that guided her decisions, and indeed her life.

She incorporated and reserved the name “What Would Jesus Do? Inc.” under which we still operate. She addressed their special needs and providing blankets, hot coffee, and rolls out of the trunk of her car, her “office”. It became a 5-day work week for Sherry and was her expression of Matthew 25:35-40.

After 15 years of homeless outreach and advocacy, and only 18 months after placing the “nameplate” on the “office door,” Sherry Schiele died unexpectedly on December 22, 1999 at the age of 53. The heartbroken melody of homeless men and women who honored Sherry at her funeral service were the voices of those that she honored with her life’s commitment.

Thank you, Sherry … the wheels continue to roll!

Tale of a man and a flood

This is a corollary to the ending of Robert’s story. When I read his story, I remembered this tale. It is so poignant in that while offered a solution the man refused to accept it, as it is humorous.

Too many people are waiting around for “the complete solution” when the solution is simply “to start”. How did Eleanor Roosevelt put it? … “The best way to begin is to begin.”

Anyway, here is the tale of a man, a flood, two boats, and a helicopter….


A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.

A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”

As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”

The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”

The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.

A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, “Grab my hand and I will pull you up!” But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”

Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.

When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”

And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

A Volunteer Tells His Story

This story is from our newsletter. Robert who served in the Auburn area wrote it. I have never met the gentleman, but the story is interesting in and of itself.

This is his story.


“Hi, my name is Robert, what’s yours?” That is the question that I ask every Thursday morning. Strangers come out of the bushes, from behind buildings or exit off the local transit bus to gather around us there at the Dewitt Center from 8:00 until 9:30 am.

On January 14th, 2013 a head-on collision took the life of my granddaughter Emily (age 3). My son was critically injured and is still recovering to this very day. I have been a believer in Christ since I was 9 years old, but it has taken me until the age of 50 to realize the limitless power He has given me.

I was the ability to speak in front of large crowds and I used that gift to speak at my granddaughter’s eulogy. I asked the Lord our God for wisdom and strength and that He would be glorified. He graciously granted my request, but He didn’t stop there.

I shared this experience with my pastor and my heart-felt a desire for the lost. He invited me to lunch one afternoon and began to tell me about a place of need. He told me about a program called What Would Jesus Do? He said the need was from among the homeless.

At first I thought, “why me”? I have so many other things going on in my life, why do you want me Involved with this program? My life is full already. I don’t have time for this! I am uncomfortable with the idea of meeting the homeless. I had every excuse to say no, I had every legitimate reason to say no. I am not an enabler! These are the same people I have to escort out of my store. These are the people at the street corner with their dogs begging for money. There will be “crazy” people there!

I agreed to test the waters. I would show up hoping I would find an excuse not to include this program in my busy life. I showed up…. And…. So did God! I had this silly notion that if you’re homeless you are not a believer. I am so weak-minded. What I realized is that some of the sweetest Christians are among our homeless brothers and sisters; Christians who just need some encouragement and a little love.

I have met some of the most grateful human beings ever. One was happy and thankful that we showed up on the 4th of July. What amazed him was that our group choose to serve him rather that out celebrating with our families. In the short time that I have served I have seen God working in so many ways.

We try to have socks on hand, but we often run out. On one occasion, a man came to the van and asked for socks but, unfortunately, this was one of those times. Without hesitation, one of our volunteers said, “wait a minute, you can have mine.” He had me help him pull his shoes and socks off and handed him the socks right off of his feet.

Do we enable? Yes, we do enable. Are we reaching others for Christ? Are we showing our homeless brothers and sisters the unconditional love of Jesus? Yes, we are.

I have met many Christians who have said, I am waiting on God to tell me His will. I am here to say…. Don’t wait! His will is going on RIGHT HERE…. RIGHT NOW!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Today is Easter Sunday. Christ has risen from the dead!

Easter, to Christians, is the pinnacle of holidays. It is the one holiday, the one day of celebration, where we all celebrate our faith. It is the day that Jesus Christ confirmed his divinity and thereby validated his teachings of love.

Even Christmas pales in comparison to Easter.

To small children, you convince them that some bunny rabbit went around today scattering chocolate multi-colored eggs. It is a large scavenger hunt. It is a game. And those are always fun. But, as you get older, you realize that, like Santa Clause, there is no easter bunny. (I can say it here because everyone should have realized that fact by now if you are reading this story.) And the chocolate eggs came from at the grocery store. Even the eggs, colored so carefully, came from the store.

Least of which, the eggs used for Easter came from a bird, not a bunny. Bunnies, or more properly rabbits, are mammals. They do not lay eggs in a nest. But, it would not be the same if we called them “Easter chickens” or “Easter turtles“. Easter bunnies sound so cute.

To grandparents, it is a time for family. It is a time for food. It is a time for “easter brunch”.

But, for all it is a joyous time. It is a time for the definition of our faith. It is a time to renew our love for humanity.

It is the one time in the year that most associated with God. There are no football games interfering with the celebration of family, of love, of peace, hope, and charity. It is the one time in the year that perhaps all Christians can reflect on their lives and re-affirm their own personal faith and perhaps share the love that God has taught us all.

So, again, I say Happy Easter to all.

Latest Park News — 04/04/2015

General News

Sundays at the park may be a past historical event. The city of Roseville and What Would Jesus Do? are still having discussions about finding an alternative site place for Sundays.

We are looking forward to working with the city on a more permanent solution to the issue of distributing canned food and hot coffee on Sundays.

The second tentative site that the city has chosen is next to the cemetery on Berry Street and Reserve Drive. (No, this is not a joke, so I won’t include any “graveyard” puns about it.) I do not know the full story of the negotiations and will tell you more about it later when I know more, but all that I do know is that the negotiations are ongoing.

We have asked for a few things such as a covered area to shield us and others from the elements when it rains. We have asked for some benches. The city has agreed to pave a section of the area and put up a fence. So, all of this is being discussed.

There is no current resolution to the issue.

I hold great hope that the negotiations continue and we both can resolve it soon.

Park Regulations

We were at the park this past Sunday and found three police patrol cars waiting for us. I do not know why it took three patrol cars. You would think that we were bank robbers or terrorists or some nefarious group. I can guarantee that we are none of the above.

The officers told us that we needed to:

  1. Park in an approved parking space
  2. Tell everyone that we see that they are not to bring their dogs to the park

I can understand the first item. We will, of course, comply with it and park in an approved parking spot in the future.

The second item is a bit strange.

It would seem that most of the people who come to the park with dogs are not homeless. They are residents located nearby. In addition, most of us are neither lawyers nor police so we may not “tell” anyone anything about the law. If the police wish to enforce the law about not bringing dogs to the park then they, the police, will have to stay and tell the tax-paying, voting, residents who come to walk their dogs that they are not welcome in the park.

All that we will do is offer the officers a cup or two of coffee while they wait. They may even have a donut if we have any left.

April Fools

This is a trivia posting. It has absolutely nothing to do with poverty nor homelessness. Sometimes, things are just for “fun” because they are interesting, at least to the author. Besides, today is April 1st. In the US, we call it “April Fool’s” day. So, here is my foolish thing for this April.

Have you wondered why the days of the week are what they are? I am not referring to the time of a day or the number of days in a week or the number of weeks in a year. I am referring to the names given to the days of the week.

Sunday

Sunday is easy. It is simply “sun’s day”. Back when the days were being named, oh so far back, the world was run by various superstitions and gods. They controlled every aspect of your life. The sun brought light, warmth, and life. It is needed for plants and the plants are needed for the animals. So, without the sun, there would be no life. Therefore, the first day of the week was to honor our star, the sun.

Monday

Monday was originally called Mōnandæg. This was Middle English for … you’ve got it, “Moon day”. Like the sun, the moon was the closest heavenly object. It represented the object that controls the oceans and the tides. The tides controlled the life of the ocean and the fish of the ocean controlled a major food group for the population. So, like the sun, the moon was essential for life and was granted its own day of the week.

By the way, the moon was the only object to obey the church’s law and revolve around the earth! Everything else in the heavens didn’t. And, if you told anyone that things did not revolve in crystal spheres around the Earth then you would be locked up like Galileo too.

Tuesday

Tuesday was originally known as, in the same Middle English, Tiwesdæg. This meant Tīw’s Day. Tīw’s is the name of the ancient god of war — Mars. Mars was very observable in the evening sky. It was the god of war. Being a “god”, it had to have its own day.

Tuesday is also a special day for many purposes. In the United States, it is the day for elections. It is also associated with “black Tuesday”, the day that the stock market dropped 13% of its value or about 135 points and that brought in the “great depression”.

Wednesday

Wednesday or Wōdnesdæg in old English is the middle of the week. And, no, it is not “Wind’s day”. It serves as Woden’s day. Woden is the ancient name for Mercury, the messenger of the gods. It is also the name given to the first planet in our solar system. Mercury is also visible in the night sky if you know where to look. It has no atmosphere is about 1/3 the size of the Earth.

Mercury was a major roman god, the son of Jupiter. He was the messenger, the “mail carrier” of the gods. In greek mythology, he was called “Hermes”. He wore winged shoes and a winged hat and carried the caduceus, a herald’s staff with two entwined snakes (later used as the medical crest that we have today), in his left hand. It was a gift from Apollo.

Thursday

Thursday is probably the easiest name, aside from Sunday and Monday. Thursday is simply “Thors day” or Thor’s day. Thor is the ancient Germanic god of Thunder. If you have a dog, you probably realize just how powerful thunder is. Our dog hates the wind because it usually brings rain. Rain which brings lightning. Lightning brings the thunder!

Thor is also associated with the planet Jupiter, clearly the largest of the gas giants in our solar system. It is visible to the naked eye in the night sky.

Friday

Friday comes from the “day of Figg” or “Figg’s day” or “Friday”. Friday is the day of preparation for Sabbath, which was inherited by Greek Christian Orthodox culture from Jewish practices. The Sabbath starts on Saturday which follows Friday.

Saturday

This day is also easy. It is simply “Saturn’s day”. Saturn, too, is a celestial object and visible in the night sky.

It is also the start of Sabbath, the weekly day of honoring God. If you believe that the calendar started on Sunday then this is the seventh day of the week, the day that God rested.

So, there you have it. It is not much. It is trivia. It is a bit of candy for the mind. Perhaps, next time, you can best your friends at the pub and tell them about Wednesday. After all, it might win a round of beers. You never know. You never know.