Homeless shelter volunteers immerse themselves in culture of giving
COLUMBIA - The number of homeless people living in Boone County has increased in the past 10 years, according to data from the Columbia-Boone County Basic Needs Coalition.
In 2017, about 265 people were considered homeless.
Elizabeth Modde, a live in community member at the St. Francis and Lois Bryant Houses, began volunteering there when she moved to Columbia from Baltimore.
Modde said she was looking for somewhere that was in line with her values. For her, that was St. Francis and the Lois Bryant Houses.
The houses don’t have a hierarchy, so, volunteers usually call themselves live-in community members.
“I’ve chosen to come home to essentially more work, but it’s gratifying and fulfilling,” Modde said.
She said she doesn’t mind the extra effort involved.
“I think everyone gets into this work because they care about other people," she said. "I want to say that there’s a bit more compassion and community here in our houses. I want to say it feels more like a home for people.”
Steve Jacobs is the last of the original creators of the St. Francis House, which was founded in 1983.
He’s a live-in community member too.
He believes the shelters really bring the community together.
“We have the Hindu community that comes once a month and gives us feeds us lunch on Sunday once a month, the Islamic community brings us food all the time, some of the people who attend the mosque have taken it on as a personal alms giving they’ve sort of adopted us,” he said.
Jacobs said the shelters are like large households and they require household supplies. Not only do they need the typical blankets and warm clothes, but everyday items like toilet paper and laundry detergent.