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Reflection of the Week: Nick Hupka on working with People Experiencing Homelessness

It is impossible to talk about doing service with the homeless without also talking about my experience with CSSA's Weekly Service Program and the Labre Project.  

I first went to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry's 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter in the spring of my sophomore year, and I learned so much.  I was part of the chess and board games group that visited 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter each Saturday.  I swear my chess skills tripled in the time that I spent at 2100!  However, the life  lessons that I learned were numerous.  After my weekly service at 2100, I continued to engage at the shelter by helping prepare dinners for the men during my junior and senior years.  

With relation to Labre, I have had instances where I have seen people on the street who I met while at 2100 Lakeside - or vice versa.  Being able to sit and have a meal with someone is a great way to grow a relationship, and that is what happened! The JCU van made friends that we looked forward to seeing each week that we visited at 2100 Lakeside.

One Saturday that spring, we noticed that one of our friends was not there - this was not unusual due to job interviews,  or something else going on in their lives, but we did not see our friend for the remainder of the semester.  While preparing dinner at 2100, I saw our friend for the first time in 2 years.  He proceeded to explain that he had moved into permanent housing and returns to volunteer at some dinners occasionally at 2100.  It was great to reignite that bond and catch up with him!


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