Mission Statement: The PV Volunteers are an ecumenical community of diverse individuals. By providing a service experience in a variety of settings, we respond to human need, form relationships and encourage change and growth both in ourselves and with those we serve.

Visit our website to find out more: www.pvprogram.org

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To Be Understood As To Understand

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not seek so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is dying that we are born into eternal life.

Approximately 9,000 people in King County are homeless, living in shelters, under freeways, in doorways and in cars. These 9,000 individuals are disabled veterans, families, and the working poor. Today we volunteered at St. Francis House serving coffee and donuts and sandwiches. We also assisted in their free clothing rooms along with other small tasks. Some of the clients we served today rode multiple buses to get to St. Francis House. Clients receive as much food and necessities such as bedding, diapers, toiletries etc. as they need no questions asked. The St. Francis House does not receive funding from the federal or church funding. Items are donated from community members, day old donuts are donated from bakeries and hotels donate unused soaps. Kathleen, the executive director, shared with us that providing the basics with smiles on our faces is not enough to fundamentally change lives but it is enough to make their days a little brighter.

A simple but satisfying spaghetti dinner was shared followed by a home made strawberry rhubarb pie. At reflection we shared moments today where we felt the presence of God. Tonight we are going to bed early as we are leaving the parish center at 6:20am to arrive in time to serve breakfast at United Gospel Mission. Sweet dreams PV blog readers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Bluest Skies Are in Seattle

     Yesterday we arrived in Seattle. What a beautiful day in a beautiful city! Blue skies with clouds consisting of the texture of cotton candy, water visible to the pebbly bottom, luscious green plants that would make Ireland jealous, snow capped mountains embracing us with their presence- we couldn't have picked a better city to serve in. Although Seattle is infamous for its rain, the forecast is calling for nothing but sunshine.

     For those of us who arrived early, we have recovered from the heartbreak of witnessing our hometown heroes, the Seattle Mariners, lose to the bad guys. We picked up our crew from the airport and readied ourselves for our weeklong journey.  In orientation our fearless leader, Jill, gave us a rundown on the good, bad, and ugly of Seattle. We learned about Seattle's recycling/composting laws, its young median age, and all the fun things to do the city offers. We also heard about its tent cities, how 45% of those receiving food assistance have higher than a high school education and the sometimes unattainable high cost of living. We finished the night with some pizza and commissioning.

    We are oh so fortunate to be staying at the Our Lady of Guadeloupe parish center. The building is almost as stunning as the view from our air mattresses. The building rests atop a hill so much can be seen. The Puget Sound, the iconic Space Needle, and mountains all visible from the four large windows in our make shift bedroom along with West Seattle residents playing a fierce match of soccer. We are excited to be a part of all of this.

Our Work Week Has Begun!

Today we ventured out to the Oso distribution center. Oso is a town about an hour away from where we are staying. About a month ago, Oso was hit by a severe mudslide. Forty-one people died and many more are displaced. Oso was just visited by the president last week. Due to the generosity of neighbors far and wide, a temporary distribution center was established to help meet the needs of the community. Items donated are sorted, organized and then sent out to fulfill their purpose. We had six out of state volunteers and five local residing PVs collaborate to get as much done as possible. Pairs of volunteers sorted new arrivals, organized men's and women's clothing, transport canned items to their appropriate spot and more. Our male volunteers stated they now know much more about women's clothing and feel this will positively impact their everyday lives. Much was accomplished at the center but much more work is needed to be done.

     After our organizing and sorting, we continued heading north to experience some of the breathtaking attractions. Unbelievable. We saw vibrant tulip fields made the rainbow we saw later on the evening appear dull. We hiked at a state park and walked along the beach. We stopped at a historic fort and caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier over 100 miles away when the clouds drifted. We broke bread at a town nestled by the water as picturesque as a movie scene. Our adventure was completed by a trip on a ferry ride where we saw both a seal and a bald eagle. Could we have really done all of this in one quintessential day? Yes.

     One particular story that stuck with us today was told by the volunteer instructing us of our work. She informed us that family members were out grocery shopping when the mud slide hit. Their family members at home perished. Can you imagine your life changing that quickly in the blink of an eye?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

President Obama is Coming to Oso, and So Are the PVs

Today President Obama is paying a visit to Oso, WA and its neighboring communities of Darrington and Arlington to see the destruction caused by the massive mudslide at the end of March. On Monday, the PVs will be in the area as well.  We will be sending a group up to help at the Mudslide Relief Community Collection Center, a grass roots organized center to help collect, sort and distribute the many generous donations that the area has received. We are grateful to be able to lend a hand where we can. The PVs will be in the Seattle area for the rest of the week, assisting at numerous social service agencies. Please check back to the website/blog during the week and see what we are doing!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Seattle PVs in Three Weeks!

The PVs will be descending upon the Emerald City in just over three weeks! The week is coming together with a different service activity each day, community activities planned and hopes of a repeat performance of sunny, warm weather. (Sounds pretty good after a long cold winter, right?) We have PVs coming from across the country, as well as having quite a bit of interest from local volunteers wanting to join in with us on our days activities.  If you are now thinking, "Gee, I wish I decided to go this year," you are in luck! We still have a couple spots available for traveling PVs, so if you are itching to sleep on an air mattress for a week and join us in Seattle, please let us know ASAP.