Four weeks ago, I was among several others from STITCH who were at the Little Sisters of the Poor elders’ home, for the purpose of washing the windows on the first floor of their main building.
Once I arrived, I saw a sizeable group of people who had climbed up onto the window sills, and were busy soaping, rinsing, wiping, and scraping the windows, and the door.
I was given a set of windows to do near the door. As I worked on the top windows, I caught a glimpse at the inside of the cafeteria. I saw many elderly people seated at the tables, sampling the day’s fare. As far as I could tell, they were leading calm, peaceful lives.
What more can one ask for? I heard the volunteers around me joking, talking about movies and interesting news articles as they worked; in other words, a group of normal people, doing something that was normal to them. Now, I’ve been amongst some pretty diverse characters, but not one had the desire to volunteer for something like this.
After finishing the outsides of the windows, several of the volunteers went inside to do those that couldn’t be opened, after the residents had left the dining area. Having finishing up the little spots I was covering, I followed suit. As I entered, I saw two elderly men, both motionless, standing a few feet away from each other, and staring into space. One had some food around his mouth, and someone came and wiped it away. I thought, “What are they thinking about?” Were they thinking about what things had been like for them in the past?
The volunteers made short work of the remaining windows, and broke for the day. The nuns kindly served tea and cake, and we were told that the home was operated largely through the goodwill and help of volunteers, such as the group that had assembled for the window wash.
My experience of the window wash, and my first volunteer event with STITCH thus came to an end. There are so many things that you can do to help people. You just need the initiative, and the drive.
This column was written by STITCH volunteer learn more at www.stitchmovement.com