His House mission trip scheduled this weekend to aid the Detroit homeless at veteran’s center
Richmond senior Anna Dunkelberg had a conversation with a woman who would change her life forever while on a mission trip to a downtown Detroit homeless shelter.
What the co-leader of Homeless Outreach Ministry Equipping heard cemented why she wants to help people less fortunate than herself.
“She said, ‘Had I not talked to you today, I planned on going home, taking all my pills and committing suicide,’” Dunkelberg said. “Something like that just helped me realize that I need to be involved in this.”
On Saturday, Dunkelberg and a small group of people from HOME, a group affiliated with His House, will travel to a veteran’s center in downtown Detroit to distribute clothing and lunches consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cookie and pretzels, to local homeless.
“We typically pass out 100 to 200 lunches,” she said. “We have hygiene bags we’ll be distributing too, including hotel-sized toiletries.”
The group has partnered with Ferris State University in the past, and is also attempting to partner with Saginaw Valley State University on upcoming trips.
Dunkelberg said students who go on the trip for the first time usually come back with a different perspective and want to go on a future trip as well.
“It’s neat because they enjoy it after they’ve gone on one and checked it out,” she said.
She said some first-time trip members may be nervous about the trip prior to, but she said she tries to pair those people with those who have had past experiences.
“You have to get the guts to start talking to people,” she said. “By having the lunches and the clothing, it’s a great conversation starter.”
HOME co-leader Jared Shepardson said his Christian faith is a large reason why he goes on the trips.
“When you look at Biblical scripture, it says to help the poor,” the Edmore junior said. “I love helping people.”
He said when the group travels on the trips and arrives at their destination, they have safety plans in place so no one gets hurt or lost.
“To ease people’s anxieties about what goes on in Detroit, there’s power in numbers,” he said. “You don’t walk in downtown Detroit by yourself. Go in groups of at least 4 to 6.”
Shepardson, who has been involved with HOME for almost three and a half years and has gone on many of these mission trips in the past, said he is grateful for the things he has in his life and how much the mission trips help him to realize that.
“You realize some of the simplest stuff you have, not everybody has,” he said. “I thank God everyday that I have what I have. It makes me more appreciative that I can eat everyday and take a shower everyday.”
Dunkelberg said trips and stories like the one she described are why she keeps going back, helping her realize how lucky she is in her life.
“All I did was sacrifice a Saturday afternoon and it impacted me more than I could have imagined,” she said.
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