Formerly with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bill S.’s work focused on economic development issues, but knew a bit about homelessness from his colleagues. One day following Bill’s retirement from the government, a buddy suggested Bill join him serving lunch to people experiencing homeless and to the working poor.
“I thought, ‘why not’?” Bill explains. “I liked helping out, but felt like I could do more.” On hearing that Bethesda Cares was looking for help in our main office, Bill hesitated.
“My first thought was that I don’t have typing skills or things like that, but then I realized that that wasn’t what was needed. What’s most important is that I serve as a welcoming presence for our clients, who don’t get that everywhere else.”
Bill remembers his first week with us; a tea-drinker, he did not know how to brew a pot of coffee. “The clients helped me out. ‘Hey, New Guy,’ they said. ‘Here’s where the filters are, here’s where we keep the coffee….’ They were great.”
He’s currently at our offices every week. “Overall, I find our clients are really nice, interesting people to be around. Their lives can be quite difficult, and I’m happy to do whatever I can do to make their existences easier.”
“I’m a people-person,” he concludes. “I talk to people everywhere I go. But my work at Bethesda Cares lets me talk to people I might otherwise never meet, or connect with on this level.”