At the beginning of May, I spent the day at the Burnside shelter, celebrating our guests. It was our annual Birthday Party for the Homeless. The dining hall was decorated in bright colors, and every guest was receiving cards. Near the end of the evening, a guest looked up from their birthday card and asked, “Who is Libby?”
I have never met Libby in person, yet I feel that I know her better than some of my coworkers, because of her stories. Libby is a unique and valuable volunteer for Portland Rescue Mission. She serves with her heart and her words. She gives freely of herself through hand-written stories, one card at a time.
I was first introduced to Libby when I worked in our Gift’s Processing Department. She contacted us for a document, and later for an address to send a donation of hats and rain ponchos. And then, I got the most amazing package: Christmas cards to give to the guests at Burnside.
Each card carried along a blessing to each recipient. Libby had not only signed them with her name, but she also included a story of her life in each card. Carefully cursive handwritten stories filled the blank spaces of the cards, each a story of a past joy or Christmas memory that was shared with blessings and love.
I reached out to Libby and thanked her, and a relationship began. “I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about experiences in my life because sharing is what friends do,” she told me. “I just wish I had time to write more of them.”
When the Birthday Party came and we needed cards, there was only one person that I wanted to reach out to. And she shared her soul once again with Portland Rescue Mission. This time, in stories of past birthday celebrations and gifts.
One of the cards contained a copied photo of her with a dog, since it had a dog story, it was instantly my favorite. It started off with–
“My dog Pat came into my life on my 13th birthday. She was a special dog, a Springer Spaniel. Daddy had got her for ‘us’ because she was to be his hunting dog too––Ha–– I got half of the present, but she was my best friend.”
When that guest asked me at the party, “Who is Libby?” I answered truthfully that she was a lady who traveled, who cared for calves, who loved her dog “Pat,” and who is a friend of Portland Rescue Mission.
I can also say that, although we have never met in person, I feel that she is also a dear friend of mine.
Stephanie currently works for the Partnership Team as their Admin Assistant–– which means she does a little bit of a lot things. She is originally from the Colorado, but has always felt at home in the Northwest. Stephanie enjoys reading, movies and exploring new adventures. Her latest adventure is writing.