“There’s nothing but love here.” – Leroy

Soup Kitchen Stories: 2014

Voice of a Volunteer: Leroy

“The volunteers inspire me,” says Leroy, who has been coming to the soup kitchen long enough to be inspired to become a volunteer himself. “I watched the volunteers for a whole year and they are always polite, very curious.”

And, recalling how he was able to get new clothes here when he came in soaking wet after a rainy day living on the streets, Leroy praises the counseling staff. “Rich – I call him Superman. Theres’ nothing he can’t do. And if he can’t do it, he’ll point me in the right direction,” Leroy says. “And Lillian and Brooke, they’re great too.”

“They treat you the same no matter how you look. You can show up looking dirty, without a shower or clean clothes and they’ll treat you the same way as they do when you are clean. They treat you well no matter what.  And they don’t discriminate. If you need clothes they’ll help you out. There’s nothing but love here and I wake up in the morning looking forward to coming here. It’s different than outside. “

Leroy loves to learn too. He was a college student at TCI when financial circumstances forced him to stop out of school. But he still had student loans to pay off, only without a degree to get a decent paying job, and his financial situation continued to spiral downward.  So Leroy’s planning on joining the next Writer’s Workshop this fall to keep his mind active. After stating that he’s poet, he recites this one:

“Afraid of the fear
from before which was done
It was I yet I cry
But still here.
Quiet was the meadows
Without winds to stream
Peaceless echoes from the angles…
Surrounding me in walls
made of shattered glass
Encaptured in freedom
but still here
Diamond mines crossed my path
From a thought or two
Priceless to nature
But yet still unable to grasp
As visions fade fast
I debate no more
On why I’m still here
Everything becomes clear
Because I”m still here.”

Today, Leroy is meeting with one of the volunteer trainers to discuss how he can give back as a volunteer next week.

Editor’s Note, Fall, 2017: Since this piece was first written, Leroy has continued to offer many hours of service as a volunteer.