Jeremiah joined Our Saviour’s Housing as a donor and volunteer more than three years ago. He’s become known as our go-to volunteer for property maintenance related needs and has played a critical role in recent renovations to our Calvary House food shelf and kitchen. We sat down with Jeremiah to talk more about his experience at OSH and his motivation to be a part of this work.
What caused you to get involved with Our Saviour’s Housing?
I was never homeless, but I have been in places in my life where I needed help. To me taking care of people that are having a hard time finding a place to stay at night is important, especially in a place that’s cold in the winter. So when I got up here [to Minnesota], I got on Google and searched for shelters. Our Saviour’s was the first one that picked up the phone!
How did you end up as OSH’s maintenance and handy volunteer?
I started just looking for somewhere to donate, and then as I ended up having extra time, that’s when I got plugged into volunteering. I said whatever you need, I can help. They found out I had a tool bag, and it just kind of snowballed from there. I started doing a couple hours a week over at the shelter. I would fix whatever they had going on, broken faucets or doors or just general maintenance stuff.
Then COVID came and there was new grant money that came in to work on the food shelf and kitchen at Calvary House. We’ve been doing a lot of renovation type things, getting the place shaped up. I think it’s important because if the facilities look nice, then my thought is that people are going to feel happier being there.
What keeps you coming back week after week?
I really appreciate what’s going on here. Watching the [case managers] work with people and getting food out and having a place for people to stay – to me that’s really good work. So when I come, my goal is to make everybody else’s job easier. I help them out with whatever they need fixed and kind of free up their time so they can do more important stuff.
Has volunteering in the community always been an important part of your life?
My dad’s a pastor, so I was always involved [in volunteering] through church. But I was never as intentional about it until now. After I got done with college, I sat down and thought, “Where do I want to be at the end of my life? How do I want to look back and see that I spent my time?” Instead of just fooling around, I’d rather look back and see that I did something good.
What motivates you to contribute financially as a donor, in addition to your time and energy as a volunteer?
I have more resources than I need to survive and be happy – both time and money. I can either sit on that, knowing that having more will not make me any happier, or I can use that to help other people that really do need it. I’m going to sleep in a warm bed tonight with plenty of food. So when I look at people that are sleeping on the sidewalk at negative 15 degrees at night, it seems way more important to me to be a part of giving people a place to sleep than [to have] a bigger bank account.
“I have more resources than I need to survive and be happy – both time and money. I can either sit on that, knowing that having more will not make me any happier, or I can use that to help other people that really do need it.” – Jeremiah, Volunteer and Donor
Many thanks to Jeremiah for sharing his time, treasure, and talent! If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at OSH, contact Wateen, our volunteer coordinator, at email@example.com.