On March 29, I had the privilege of helping to serve dinner at Ascencia’s 120-bed Winter Shelter in Glendale. I was joining about 15 volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Glendale to serve hot-off-the-grill hamburgers and hot dogs to the guests. After 41/2 months of nightly shelter, this was the final night of the program and there were definitely a lot of emotions in the air. Most of the guests would be returning to the cold streets the very next day. As if to drive the point home, it started to rain that afternoon. I heard a couple of the guests concerned about where they were going to sleep after the shelter closed. They said they’d miss the warm meals, as well as the calm and safety of the shelter. It saddened me to think that all of these people would be back on the streets the next night when I would climb into my warm bed.
But I also saw the commitment and hard work by staff to make the shelter a positive experience for so many. Their efforts need to be applauded. Staff kept the facility immaculate. It was obvious that staff had instigated structure for each night. The guests knew where to make their cots and where to stand in line for dinner. The needs of the disabled guests were met. Questions and requests by the guests were handled with smiles. Though staff used a firm hand, they were caring. Most importantly, the guests appeared happy, as happy as can be under the circumstances.
Congratulations to the staff of Ascencia. I am indeed proud to be associated with Ascencia.
The writer is co-vice president of the Ascencia Board of Directors