Each year, my ROLEmodels participate in a group service project. We have continued to serve the homeless community in the Dallas area, and were lucky enough to be invited to volunteer at a shelter in McKinney, my hometown! The Samaritan Inn is not your typical homeless shelter, and I invite you to visit their website to learn about it’s purpose.
We arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning. And when I say these girls are the best, they really are! Not many teenagers would get up before 8 AM on a Saturday to participate in things like this. Our group was greeted by one of the Samaritan Inn’s volunteer coordinators who gave us an informative lesson on the shelter and what they do. We learned the following:
- It is not a come and go each day shelter, although it is designated as the Collin County shelter. It is truly a “program” that accepts men, women, and families after an acceptance process.
- The residents are fully immersed in the supportive elements of the shelter that provides them opportunities to succeed once they are back on their feet.
- Children at the Samaritan Inn are allowed to stay at their current school instead of the school zoned for the Inn.
- Volunteers keep the Samaritan Inn functioning daily and donations from the community (monetary and items) are always needed.
You can find the Samaritan Inn’s donation needs here. We gathered items from the Urgent Needs List and brought them with us to donate.
Some of the items needed right now are:
- Saline Solution
- African American Hair Products
- Medicated Foot Powder
- Baby Oil/Powder/Shampoo
- Body Powder
- Bath Towels
- Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline
- Packing Tape/Refills
- Aloe Vera
- Multi-Purpose Spray Cleaners
- Floor Cleaner (Pine Sol)
- Ink Pens (black/blue & red)
Before we started our projects, we were given a tour of the Samaritan Inn. It is currently housed in a building that used to be a nursing home. There is a main rotunda filled with books and movies on the shelves, and off of the rotunda are several wings, one for men, one for women, and one for families. The fact that families can stay together in one room and not be separated is really unique for a homeless shelter. We toured the dining room and kitchen, and also outdoor areas where pets can live. The halls are filled with motivational posters and drawings. Overall, the mood of the Samaritan Inn is positive and uplifting. An environment such as this is important for the residents to feel loved and supported.
My ROLEmodels were split into groups for two projects. The first group was asked to wipe down touchable surfaces in the main building. Door handles, washing machine nobs, light switches, door frames, toys, and more. They went to town with those Clorox wipes and got the place sparkling! Caitlyn, Taylor, Grace, and Sabrina were the cleaning gals. I also helped, in between taking all these pictures. 🙂
Our second group of ROLEmodels sat in the dining room and separated Girl Scout Cookies into baggies for snacks. There must have been 20 cases, and we got them all split up except for 1! They looked SO stylish in the hairnets. I think a couple of them took theirs home to wear for prom. Alex, Gracie, Chandler, and Reagan were the cookie girls, but the rest of us joined them after cleaning to help finish. I was on trash duty, filling up the cans with the empty boxes. Nope, I didn’t get a picture of me in the hair net. Well, there was one but it was on my Instagram Story and it disappeared after 24 hours. I swear I didn’t plan it that way.
What a wonderful way to spend our Saturday! I hope that my next year’s team of ROLEmodels can continue to serve this local shelter as volunteers. And, of course we had to grab a group picture before the morning ended. I love my ROLEmodels!
After the service project, we headed to my house for Part 2, Vision Boards and Finding Your Acre of Diamonds! Click the link to check it out!