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Review for CROSSROADS OF MICHIGAN, Detroit, MI, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The first time I volunteered for Crossroads with my church, I was about 10 or 11. I remained safely ensconced behind the counter, ladling steaming tomato barley soup into to-go sytrofoam containers. I could smile through the small window at the visitors, but I got a lump in my throat thinking about going "out there" - at the time, the cafeteria was about 25 wrought iron tables. Crossroads was my first face-to-face encounter with homelessness in Detroit, as a young suburbanite, our guests were very different from me. What could I have in common with them? I was young and intimidated, but under the guidance of Sister Liz and my pastor, the late Rev. Harry T. Cook, I knew not to be scared, either. There was nothing wrong with our guests, they would be happy to chat with me. Back in the year 2007, I was too shy, but when our church returned the following year, I felt more confident. And, I was shocked that I even recognized some of our guests from last year. At 12, it didn't stick that I recognized them because of the cycle of poverty and injustice manifested in our community; I just knew they still needed a helping hand. I ventured out, under the guise of washing down some tables, and made small talk with a guest. It wasn't any harder than talking to a stranger is under any other circumstance. At 13, I talked to a few more guests during our annual meal. As the years have gone by, I spend increasing lengths of time out in the dining room with guests of Crossroads. Crossroads relocated into a larger facility with a larger dining room and kitchen. Our church, since closed, still convenes former parishioners to assemble our annual meal. Over 18 meals, in 18 years, I've met the most loving, intelligent, optimistic members of our community who benefit from the many services Crossroads provides, including but not limited to hot meals. I've seen the good Crossroads provides our community, and every year I hope there are fewer neighbors in need of their services. Not only has 18 years of volunteering annually with Crossroads helped me to humanize my destitute brothers and sisters, but it's helped me recognize that economic insecurity, food security, and poverty, can be just one bad break around the corner for any of us, one diagnosis away, one letter from the bank can make us more dependent on each other. And Crossroads professional and volunteer services will be there for anyone whose situation changes and needs that help. I hope that as members of our community, more supporters, through time or finances, help Crossroads in this mission.

Role:  Volunteer