Hi everyone, my name is Carmen Fortunato. I am a senior communication major with an emphasis on public relations and I will be your blogger for the day! Today, we woke up around 8 a.m. for our first day of service. Today we went to Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) homeless shelter to help Katie, the owner of the Ottawa branch.
We arrived at PADS for our first day of service shortly after 9 a.m. We rolled into the parking lot sleepy-eyed after our long but fun day in Chicago. Once we stepped out of the RV are sleepiness subsided with the anticipation of a day’s work. Katie, who thanked us for the help, met us outside and we began our tour of the shelter. The shelter was very well kept and in order. You could tell immediately that Katie puts her heart and soul into the shelter. Katie is married with three kids who were there to help us throughout the day. Our first job was to begin work outside.
Katie explained to us that the previous year when they cleaned up the outside of the shelter it took her and her family three days to finish. She was thrilled to see the seven of us out there to work outdoors for her. It was a beautiful morning to work outdoors, although it was hot. Our work consisted of weeding, gardening, trimming and weed-whacking. We ran into a few hiccups with the weed-wacker and hedge clippers but Bob, who was a member of the board for PADS, graciously bought us new string for our trimmer.
Grace and Biz were weeding the garden that grew potatoes and onions. Mike and I were on weed and ivy patrol and made pretty short work of the pesky weeds. Leigh Ann was pruning the trees while Austin and Brad were trimming and cleaning up trash. During the day Mike took the role as ‘Bucket Man’, which we happily named him because of the bucket he carried around to pick up the trimmings. Unlike the Batman, Bucket man was very open to people knowing his identity. After finishing up inside, we moved indoors to clean bathrooms, floors and sort out the kitchen.
After we cleaned Katie shared some stories about her time at the shelter. Most were pleasant and talked about the positive experience she has had running the shelter. Katie thanked us once again for our work and we were on our way to a neighboring town to register Grace, Mike and myself to drive the RV. Weary, we made our way home to showers and some of the best Pizza I’ve ever had at Austin’s aunt and uncle’s house. Overall, the day was a success and showed us all what a solid day’s work can do for the body. Yes we are sore, but it is a sore that comes from a day of helping out someone who has dedicated their life to helping those who are not blessed with a place of their own.
Katie told us of a few people who came into the shelter with nothing and left with something. That something varied from a job to a full stomach, a good night’s rest or even something as small as hope. I learned today that the smallest act of kindness can do so much. Whether that act is a warm bed and hot meal or simply mopping a floor, we can never underestimate the impact a helping hand can have.
Now we head off to Denver where we will be driving through the night. Shifts of drivers and co-pilots have been set-up to allow each of us to sleep accordingly. The Boys and Girls Club awaits us in the Mile High City, and I can’t wait to get started again.
Signing off, Carmen