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IKF Blog
Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2017

Residents give back through work with homeless

For a dozen residents and staff at Ingleside at King Farm, homelessness isn’t just a faceless issue. These folks are getting to know homeless people as individuals and devoting their time and talents to assisting them. 

The volunteers boarded the Ingleside at King Farm van early on Nov. 17 and were transported to the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. They spent most of the day helping the 457 folks who came to Homeless Resource Day at the center. It’s a cause that’s close to their hearts. 

Barbara, an Ingleside at King Farm resident who works part-time for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, recruited the volunteers after learning that the county was seeking volunteers for the event. “I know Ingleside is interested in community service activities,” Barbara says. 

She and Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Loube found several people who were interested in going. Homeless Resource Day is an annual event Barbara describes as “a one-stop shop for homeless people to get in touch with over 80 services, all on the same day, without having to ride buses all over the place.” A number of organizations and County programs had booths at the center to help homeless people access housing, food stamps and other services. One group provided diabetes screening, and another performed eye exams. Students from a beauty school gave people haircuts and manicures. The Interfaith Community Center brought coats, scarves and gloves. A popcorn cart and ice cream dispenser helped give the event a festival-like vibe. 

The volunteers from Ingleside “were very enthusiastic and had a good time,” Barbara says. Some of them assisted people at the booths, helping them, fill out forms and giving information. Others buddied up with a homeless person. These volunteers, who received orientation before the event, guided their buddies through the hall, steering them to information and resources. Inglesiders also helped people check out when they were ready to leave, making sure they had found what they needed. 

Another vanload of residents and staff visited Interfaith Works’ new shelter for homeless women in Rockville on Dec. 29. Before the arrival of the women, who were being transferred from another shelter, “we went over there and made up the beds so things were looking nice,” Barbara says. 

Volunteering gives people one-on-one experience with homeless people and a deeper understanding of the issue of homelessness. “Everybody has a story about how they came to be that way,” Barbara says. One woman was a professional working in an office but lost her housing because she lost her job. She’s a fairly organized person, but it has taken time for her to find housing and get her security deposit and first month’s rent together. In the meantime she’s living in a storage bin.” A homeless man Barbara knows sleeps in his work van, because he’d rather be there than in a public shelter. 

“While benefiting the people we work with, it’s a great benefit for each of us to feel like we’re contributing,” Barbara says. “To be able to do that in your later years is a real bonus.” 

Barbara and her husband, Bob, moved into Ingleside at King Farm two and a half years ago." We liked the presence when you walk into the building,” Barbara says. “We liked the programs offered, and we liked the arrangement of the apartment we got. We repeatedly say to each other, it’s a good thing we moved here when we did. It’s just working out so well for us.” She was also impressed that staff “remembers your name practically from day one.” 

A bonus that Barbara and Bob weren’t aware of when they moved in was the proximity of the rehabilitation program just a few floors above their apartment. They were able to utilize the program when Bob got sick soon after their move. “I could visit him and bring him down to watch TV in his chair in the evenings,” Barbara says. “It was wonderfully convenient when we needed it.” 

If you’d like to learn more about this unique Continuing Care Retirement Community, please join us at one of our upcoming events. Call us at

240-205-7085, or request information here.

 


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