Once again Union continues to make a large impact on the homeless community. On Oct. 2 Doug Barahona, a senior theology major, organized a group of about 53 Union students to help out at the homeless shelter People’s City Mission (PCM).
The event was unofficially called “Drop Your Drawers,” and over 250 men, women and children were given the opportunity to receive free undergarments, haircuts, nail painting, and to experience good fellowship. “On our end we were raising funds to give, but on their end it was just a Sunday afternoon picnic at the parking lot,” comments Barahona. Over $1,600 was raised for the event. “A huge shoutout to the school,” he added. “Because it was all them putting in the hard work.”
Barahona’s passion to help the homeless began early while volunteering. Working in different places back in his hometown of Seattle, WA and in coming to Lincoln and seeing the PCM as the only shelter here, he felt a need and a calling to serve and help. Since coming to Union he has visited PCM every Friday with the title of volunteer minister. He’s helped feed PCM clients, spent time with them, hung out with them, and overall built good rapport.
Through these interactions he saw how much help they needed, and he kept going back about twice a week on his own time. He eventually decided to organize a large event to get the whole student body involved to help PCM.
This was Union’s first year being involved with something this big, and thankfully outside sources also contributed efforts to help everything run smooth. Donations from Target and the Paul Mitchell cosmetology school provided equipment for the hair-cutting. Severa community members also came out to participate in the event.
The day started off with the volunteer group showing up early and setting up for the church service held in the morning, then haircuts and manicures/pedicures followed. A live local band added background music to the lively atmosphere. A table touch-team was intentional about sitting down and engaging with the people eating at the barbeque. This team was just there to talk, listen to the people’s stories, and discuss the gospel and hope for a new life beyond whatever they were struggling with.
After helping and seeing the various activities, I spoke with Brandy Remy, a sophomore social work major, and Christia Wright, junior psychology major, were in charge of the manicures and pedicures and asked their thoughts about the event.
“This is a stress-free environment, and we’re just here to make them feel loved and appreciated in a simple way,” enthuses Remy.
Adds Wright, “It’s the little things that can go a long way, even small things like personal hygiene that we may take for granted and not even think about can mean so much to them.”
Drop your Drawers isn’t the only event held at PCM; various projects are held about every week, including Princess Ministries where Union students go out in princess costumes and share joy with balloons and smiles.
If wanting to become involved in service projects benefitting the community, Union has at least one event going on each week. Simply stop by Campus Ministries or speak with Barahona for ways you can give back and participate.
Caroline Guchu is a sophomore studying communication