Lisa McGurty, the author of this blogpost, served as an AmeriCorps ViSTA at Loaves & Fishes. Similar to the peace corps, AmerCorps VISTAs labor at poverty relief organizations throughout the United States and live on a meager living stipend so that they can fully absorb the experience of poverty. Lisa's work had a huge impact at Loaves & Fishes -- she created this blog, advocated for the needs of our guests at the city, county and state level and routinely fashioned fantastic communications material for Loaves.
I recently spent the day at Mustard Seed School. Mustard Seed School, a program of Loaves & Fishes, is a school for children currently experiencing homelessness in Sacramento.
After eating lunch in the preschool room, one of the children was eager to help with the dishes. "When I had a home,” she said, “it was my job to help my mom with the dishes. My brother would come in and make a big mess, and I would always help her clean it up.”
The conversation went on as she continued to scrub the the plates and cups, handing them over to me to rinse and dry. The little girl talked about her crazy brother, and I agreed that brothers can be very crazy. In the back of my mind, however, I could not stop thinking about the first thing she said.
This little girl is six years-old, and misses doing dishes in her home.
When we think about homelessness, we likely conjure images in our mind of what homelessness looks like. We create specific characters, and wonder what decisions they made in their lives that have led them to this place. We do not think of the thousands of children who have found themselves in this situation, who understand little about what it means or why they, unlike other children, do not have a home.
The truth is that homelessness is hidden everywhere. To learn more about Mustard Seed School, visit www.sacloaves.org/mustardseed.