Updated: Oct 2011
From December 2010 to September 2011, I volunteered weekly at our city’s community assistance center in the shelter/tent city complex. The City of Reno Tom Vetica Resource Center offers free phones, computer access, faxing, mail service, resume help, free classes and so much more to people experiencing homelessness. The resource center makes it possible for people to get a fresh start, and get their lives back on track. It is such a great volunteer opportunity, and I really know we are making a positive difference in people’s lives.
I spent most of my time at the resource center working in the mail room, and there were quite a few people who come through my line often. They live on the streets, in tent city, at one of the shelters, or in weekly-rent motels. After awhile, like in any job… you get to know the regulars personally, and care about their lives. When you don’t see them, you wonder where they’ve gone – and if they’re okay. You celebrate with them when they receive good news, console them when they receive bad news, and joke around about some of the mail we all get that deserves to go to “File 13.”
Some of the people I’ve really grown to love never receive much mail at all. They are sad, lonely, and really quite isolated in a world that looks the other way. Sometimes they joke that they should send themselves letters, just so they get nice mail once in awhile…
Well, I think we can do better than that, and this is where all of you come in!
Can you spare some time out of your day to add a ray of sunshine to one of their lives? Haven’t you ever wanted to tell someone experiencing homelessness that you were thinking of them, and wishing them well? If your heart is saying emphatically YES!! Please write a letter or note card to:
A Homeless Friend
335 Record Street
Reno, NV 89512
Your letter will be given to someone experiencing homelessness in downtown Reno, NV. This is not a pen pal program, and you do not have to include your full name or full return address in your letter. If you would like to send several letters or cards from your family or group, you may send them all in one large envelope.
Letter writing guidelines:
- Please do not send any money or gifts. We are not soliciting donations, only heartfelt thoughts and supportive wishes.
- Please do not comment about things that you think they could or should have done differently to prevent homelessness. Even if it is true, it is not supportive.
- Please sign your letter with your first name(s), or simply “a friend”
- Please format your envelope’s return address to include only your city, state, zip or postal code, and country.
Thank you all so much! I can only begin to imagine how happy some of our friends are going to be when they have a good mail day! It is amazing how such a small act of kindness can make such a huge difference in someone’s life.