Generosity is defined as, "the quality of being kind and generous; or the quality or fact of being plentiful or large."
Gratitude is defined as, "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."
These are two words that are synonymous with life at Frederick Place. It has been said that "magic" happens at Frederick Place. This is something that I truly believe and have seen everyday for the past three years. I have seen people that are beaten down rise up; those that have had previous issues beat the odds and take the steps to make their lives thrive. I have seen the sparkle put back into people's eyes and unending gratitude for the "home" that they are able to have for a short period in their lives. A home that is more than just a bed, and meals. Our slogan has always been "Everybody deserves shelter." It should be more like, "Everybody deserves to have a home." That's what Frederick Place has been to over 600 people since the doors opened on Jan. 31, 2011.
I have always had a heart for helping people, but I am truly blessed to be part of this amazing place. Every day is a day that I am constantly reminded that God is good and continues to show up in every situation. Following are a couple short stories of how this has become evident.
Last year we had a family that was in desperate need of clothing for the children, so I began typing a short list of what was needed by this family. As I hit enter on my computer, the doorbell rang. At the door was a person with multiple bags of donations. As I began to go through the bags, I was filled with love and blessings, for in those bags were every size clothing that I had just typed into my computer and put out on Facebook. Some may ask why this is so relevant. It is relevant because there is absolutely no way this person knew the sizes of clothing that I had just put into my computer and hit send as the doorbell rang. Coincidence? No, it was all completely, overwhelmingly God!
Another time just a few weeks ago, we had a few residents come and ask if we happen to have snow boots, work boots, and heavier jackets that could be worn in the woods while helping a family member. We wrote down the sizes and told them we would see what we could do. Not even an hour later, someone showed up at the door with the exact size boots and a heavy jacket that would be awesome for working outdoors. Another coincidence? No, just another way that God showed up. God showers blessings upon us daily. This is a job that can sometimes be very tough, but can also be very rewarding. It is a job that also humbles you daily and lets you see the good in people.
Knowing that each of us who work at NATH/Frederick Place make a difference in someone's life each day is something that none of us on staff take for granted. We are all humbled to make a difference in someone's life. The team at Frederick Place is one of kindness, compassion, gentleness, firmness, love, and above all faith. Each one has a special place in this amazing facility, and all go above and beyond to ensure every person that crosses our threshold is treated with respect, kindness, compassion, and dignity.
Gratitude is shown by current and former residents, and is often felt in very tangible ways. Residents are always more than willing to step up and help whenever help is needed. We have had residents use their handyman skills to help fix small issues around the house. We have had residents take it upon themselves to refinish our dining room table because the varnish had worn down after so much use, or repaint the kitchen just to give it a fresh look, or fix a door with a very old piece of glass that is special to the historical integrity of the house. There have been kind words written on our Facebook page, and letters/cards sent to us to say "thank you." Former residents drop off flowers/candy for the staff, or call and offer to make dinner for the house, or drop off items that they know are needed on a regular basis. These are just a few ways that former and current residents have chosen to give back.
I believe one of the most amazing things about Frederick Place and the work that is done for those that are experiencing homelessness, is to be part of a community that is incredibly generous and supportive of our mission. We, the staff and the residents of Frederick Place, are constantly being shown that this community is a place of kindness, generosity, and love. Donations are dropped off, hair cuts given at no cost, meals are cooked daily from people in the community, rides are given, time and money are given generously, donations for our raffles and various fundraisers are given, and when it comes to Christmas, people go above and beyond anything anyone could ever imagine. It is humbling to be a part of making sure those that call Frederick Place "home," are blessed on Christmas morning.
I have never been prouder to be part of a community that is so full of kindness and generosity. Throughout the year, we see a generous spirit and are so thankful for all the support and kindness that is shown to NATH, but something "magic" happens from Thanksgiving to Christmas that completely humbles us all and shows us that in this crazy mixed up world of ours, there are still people who go out of their way to help those that are less fortunate than themselves. Call it, "Christmas magic," or call it, "generosity," all I know is that it's real and alive in this community.
Thank you all for being the hands and feet and love of Jesus to many people.
And for joining us in our quest to end and prevent homelessness.