Saturday, April 16, 2011

bent, not broken

Sharon Adams pulls her plastic bag and rises from her chair, then pauses before wrapping her winter coat around. Just feet away, Melissa Shoemake smiles, then moves to embraces Sharon before her departure.

Shoemake knows Adams' plight.

“I identify with a lot of the issues the homeless face,” says Shoemake. “They feel comfortable with me, because I've been through what they're going through.”

Shoemake is now off the streets, clean and sober for 6 years. She's also an integral volunteer for the aid organization called People In Need, which gives a variety of services, including medical, each week at Beach Pentecostal Church in Virginia Beach.

“It's giving hope to people that feel there is no hope,” says Shoemake, a medical assistant, who volunteers in the medical station of the organization. It's efforts by people like Shoemake, and organizations like PIN, that are helping ease the financial burden of medical costs in the wake of the recession. The clinic serves about 30 people each week with basic medical needs.

“They're here for us. They're giving back to the community. Most of us (people who are homeless) don't have a job. It's really hard to find one, especially in today's economy,” says Adams.

As she turns to leave, Shoemake puts her arm on her shoulder.

“I want them to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Shoemake. “I want them to realize that there is a better way.”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home