Hello! My running this week has fallen short by 10 miles (I had 2 unplanned rest days.) But I am hoping to be back on track tomorrow. The kids and I made it back this afternoon after spending 4 days down in Boston on a servant event trip. I was one of 3 chaperones taking 10 kids to work at a homeless shelter, and painting at a revitalization project. We did a lot of work, and a lot of walking. We had fun, and worked hard! We spent one day cleaning (really scrubbing!) and painting, and another day sorting clothes that were donated to the shelter. (You have to be over 18 to distribute donations). We also received training in volunteering at the shelter. It was fulfilling work, and VERY tiring. We also ventured out into the city in the evenings for some fun, and cannolis!
We slept in a basement of a church (in sleeping bags on the floor), and were able to use the Y for showers, but only after 3pm, so running in the early morning before wake-up call (6:45am) was out. (I really NEED to shower after I run). I did run on Monday morning before we left, and this afternoon when I got back. Let’s just say that was an awful 3 miles. I am grateful for my bed and clean clothes, and adult food! (Hanging out with teenagers leaves the diet lacking!)
I learned a lot from our training and work at the homeless shelter. After talking with the staff, I learned that the most challenging issue that they deal with is lack of supplies. This shelter’s demand is mostly for showers, clothing and food--not a place to spend the night (even in the winter). I found that surprising. In particular, they were lacking clothes for the men–especially T-shirts. Their shelves were practically empty. In a roughly 30’x15′ clothing supply room they only had about 10 men’s T-shirts left (all sizes included!). However, the women’s section was overflowing–as a matter of fact, we packed up 2 vans with overflow and brought them to another city shelter. I already went through my husband’s dresser this afternoon and pulled out T-shirts to donate. The most frequently requested donation is a clean T-shirt and a cold drink or coffee in the summer months. We asked about what supplies they would need in preparation for the colder months, and men’s T-shirts and hoodies topped the list. They also were in need of NEW underwear and NEW, wool socks. Other supplies needed were warm hats and gloves (work gloves, in particular) and warm jackets. I am sharing this information, because I hope you will consider donating to a shelter in your area.
Tomorrow I hope to restart my week of running and pick-up where I left the training plan for 2 days (it feels like longer!). I will admit, that I really did miss going for a run, and yes, I worried that I was losing fitness, by veering off the plan…However, in the grand scheme of things, 2 days is NOTHING, and I gained a whole lot more insight and perspective through our volunteer time. It was a great experience for the kids. We will be continuing to volunteer there, hopefully for a long time! We left Boston with a renewed feeling of gratitude, and the ongoing desire to continue to help those in need.
I have a favor to ask. How about going through your closets (or your significant other’s) and donate some items to a local shelter?