I am known as "The Birthday Lady" at Mission Outreach. I host birthday parties at the shelter every Sunday, honoring birthdays there. Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to host group parties lately, but when the number of virus cases start going down dramatically, I shall return!
In the meantime I am mailing Wal-Mart gift cards to all birthday recipients. At our parties we have decorations, refreshments, games, and of course gifts. I have a group of volunteers who help me buy gifts to insure that the birthday person receives most of the items on his/her wish list. I also recognize all Holidays with a special celebration and gifts for all. We always have a huge Christmas party with very nice gifts for all, entertainment, and Santa Claus! Every summer I host a Spa Day for the residents held at Arkansas Academy of Hair Design in Paragould. Free haircuts and styles, massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures are offered. along with refreshments and gifts for all.
Why do I do this?.....to bring worth to the Mission Outreach residents who suddenly find themselves in a homeless shelter. This could happen to any of us! What better way to say "you matter" than to honor someone's birthday! This shelter does so much more for these folks than just providing shelter, food, and clothes. It works hard to bring these people out of homelessness into their own place; sometimes this process takes years, but I have seen so many success stories first-hand, as I continue to be friends with many of them who have left Mission.
If there are those of you reading this who would like to help me with my special occasions at the shelter, you can reach me through the Director at Mission. I always welcome new volunteers. The blessing will be yours.