The La Crosse Community Warming Center opened for the season on November 1, 2016. While the temperatures continue to drop, our need for Warming Center volunteers grows. Without volunteers like Sue, we would never be able to keep our doors open to serve the hundreds of members of our community experiencing homelessness each season.
Sue started volunteering at the La Crosse Community Warming Center 5 years ago after hearing about the Warming Center mission through her church, First Free Onalaska. Sue believes all people deserve love and compassion, and she hopes that by helping and serving people, she can make a difference in the life of someone who has a difficult situation.
As a volunteer at the Warming Center, Sue said she has gained a lot including a richer life experience and a great appreciation for all God has blessed her with – including her friends at the Warming Center. She said, “I’ve made lifelong friends, guests and volunteers alike. We’ve celebrated weddings and cried at funerals. We’ve laughed together and problem solved. We’ve shared our joys and our challenges.”
Sue shared with Catholic Charities that her favorite thing about volunteering at the Warming Center is the love and compassion and feeling of “family” among the guests and volunteers. She shared a story of one night when two men had a conversation over dinner: “They shared their love for music, the outdoors and other things in common. At one point, the first man said to the second man, ‘I’m surprised you are here, you don’t seem like you would be homeless.’ The second man replied, ‘I’m not homeless, I’m a volunteer like you!’ And the first man said, ‘I am a guest here tonight.’ And a friendship began.”
Sue was so excited to share her enjoyment of volunteering at the Warming Center. She said that volunteering at the Warming Center is as simple as remembering that we are all more alike than different, sharing a meal, and enjoying each other’s company. Sue shared her motivation and encouraged others; “Open your heart and mind to serve another human being who may not have the same life you do. Practice justice, show mercy, be compassionate and love others just as they are. To the world you are one person but you may be the world to another person.”