Today our service project was to paint a shelter in Pilsen, a small neighborhood in Chicago. Isreal Vargus, the executive coordinator of the shelter, greeted us very warmly. Throughout the day it became increasingly clear that Isreal, as well as the other staff, were very appreciative of the work we were doing. He took us on a tour and gave us various tidbits of info on the neighborhood and background of the shelter. One thing that stood about about Isreal was that he was homeless at the age of 19, making his experiences and advice all the more meaningful. The shelter, consisting mostly Hispanic men, provides them with a place with stability for 120 days. Our goal was to paint two bathrooms and a stairwell.
We thought that this project would be over in a mere few hours, however the painting took longer than expected. This just goes to show how important it is that volunteers help out shelters on tasks like these. While most may think that painting isn’t THAT big of a deal, it provides the guests something aesthetically pleasant to look at. During our break the shelter served us an incredible lunch, we ate like kings! It was so amazing to see the power of giving in this situation. An organization that had so little was able to give to us, it was the ultimate thank you!