Winter Newsletter: Homeward-bound

Woman in shelter

The Road Home helps hundreds of people each day. We have over 100 beds for women in need of a safe warm place to stay.

The holiday season is a busy time for many of us, including our team at The Road Home. In a recent meeting with the staff of Simmons Media, who graciously share their time and talent with us each year during our Holiday Radio-a-Thon, our Executive Director Matt Minkevitch shared an experience he had at our Salt Lake Community Shelter.
His story brought focus to the reason behind all our hard work this time of year. He reminded us that each donation, each coat or blanket helps ease the pain of others. Together, we ease human suffering and truly honor the spirit of the season.
“Recently, I was walking out of the shelter, making my way through the hallways from my office to my car. It was late in the evening. My coworkers on the swing shift were twenty minutes away from greeting our coworkers working the graveyard shift. It can be surprisingly serene at this time of night at our downtown shelter.
Just a few hours earlier, our shelter was humming with activity. A group of volunteers provided an all shelter dinner, at which all men, women and each family with children had an opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal.
A young girl overflowing with energy ran down one of our hallways just far enough to separate herself from her worried mother, who had momentarily lost her in the din of the festive activity. The girl was proudly wearing her new coat that she had received from our warehouse earlier in the day.  She gave an excited account of her prized acquisition to one of my thoughtful teammates to whom she had turned for assistance. Mother and daughter were quickly reunited.
Outside of the shelter, the unseasonably mild day was giving way to a frigid night. Throughout the evening, single women were trickling into our women’s shelter, some ever so quietly as if apparitions. One by one, women continued to turn to us as their refuge from the cold.
By the time I found myself walking through the halls, the women had quietly filled all of the beds that were available in our women’s facility. Our team had provided mats and bedding to an additional number of women who were sleeping peacefully in our women’s shelter lobby. A few women had also moved into the hallway of our family shelter.
I walked as quietly as I could, attempting to avoid disrupting the fragile slumber of the angels that lay on either side of me as I passed.
During this moment I thought of my home. My Karyn and our lovely daughters were there, already fast asleep. The image of their precious faces was swimming in my imagination as I passed a woman who lay to my left, on her bedding in the hall, fast asleep.
She was far too skinny and seemed ever so frail. The lines on her weathered face suggested years of struggle and pain. For a moment my gaze fixed upon the image of her tired face.
The image rested in my mind, then blended with the images of my Karyn, Amelia, and little Lizzy.  I thought of my Lizzy in particular. As I tuck her in at night, her face erupts in a gentle, playful smile. Happy dimples emerge from her plump cheeks. In this passing moment, my Lizzy’s smile washed across this woman’s face like a warm spring rain.
At times like these, when our human family rests in the halls of our shelter, nestled in the heart of our community, where compassion embraces need and hope entwines with opportunity, we are all connected. We are all one.
Throughout the days ahead, my teammates and I will continue to work in our diligent quest to provide housing opportunities for all who have for too long turned to our shelter as their only housing alternative.
We will lose neither our focus, nor our commitment to the sustainable alternative permanent supportive housing provides. As we work each day into the night in pursuit of this worthy goal, our beautiful coworkers during the graveyard shift continue their work through the night to alleviate the suffering of those who turn to us. At dawn, they will entrust the mission to us again and we continue our work.
We are indebted to each of you who support us in this effort for the privilege you bestow upon us as we serve those who turn to us in their moment of need. Our commitment, like the work we embrace, remains constant. Thank you.” – Matt Minkevitch, The Road Home

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