Updated: Dec 20, 2019
What does a homeless shelter look like? Does it look friendly, with people greeting you with friendly faces? Here is our experience volunteering at the Bangor Homeless Shelter on the fifteenth of February 2019 at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
As we entered the tall brick building, we walked through a dining room where people were sitting and talking. We guessed that the people lived at the shelter. We told the woman at the front desk that we had come to volunteer for two hours. She got another woman who gave us soap buckets, and led us upstairs into the TV room. We started wiping down all the surfaces: sofas, shelves full of books and movies, rocking chairs, a microwave, the windows, and two TVs (a small one and a giant one on the floor not being used). We swept the floor, filling a dustpan with dust, crumbs, and fluff and stuff. When we were done, the room felt cleaner and the sun was shining in.
Next we took off our clear work gloves and threw them away, and dumped out the dirty water. We went back downstairs to the kitchen and refilled the plastic forks and spoons, moving them from boxes to plastic cup holders. We also refilled the napkins and sugar. There was one other person in the kitchen. We guessed that he was also volunteering, or worked at the shelter.
In the pantry connected to the kitchen, there was a walk-in refrigerator and shelves where they store the food. Our job was to sort and organize the food. There was a lot of canned food (peas, corn, tomatoes, beans), and bread. All of the food is from donations so they don’t know what they’re going to get. We put boxes of bread into the refrigerator, sorted with the oldest bread in front and the newest in the back. All of the canned food was mixed up on higher shelves so we brought them down to lower shelves and put each type of food together.
We broke down cardboard boxes outside and and brought them to the dumpster. As we were breaking down the boxes, there were two people who came to the back door and brought a food donation. After we broke down the boxes, that was the end of our volunteering work at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
A homeless shelter can look friendly, or it can look not as friendly, but as long as there is a warm place where people can stay through the cold nights it’s good in our book. A clean, well-stocked shelter makes the people feel more comfortable in the place that they’re staying, and more grateful that they have more food to eat, and more confident so that they can go out into the world and start a brand new life of their own. Our work was important because we helped out the organization with what they are trying to accomplish and hopefully put a smile on somebody’s face. :)