Make your own free website on Tripod.com
UConn - Tom's Leadership Council
Boston City Reach
Home
TLC Goals
Meeting Dates
Event Calendar
Event Info
Event Sign-up
Past Events and Pictures
Message Board
Religious Links
Contact Us

By Isabel Puzio

On Friday October 22, seven UCONN students from St. Thomas Aquinas church, accompanied by George Collins and Sister Alberta, headed into Boston for an overnight stay at The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul. Unlike hundreds of others pouring into the city and filling up hotel rooms that weekend in anticipation of Saturday’s big baseball game at Fenway Park, we were not there for the World Series.

Boston City Reach is a program that focuses on homelessness.  Several colleges and universities send students to work with the Common Cathedral staff for two days, to run a food and clothing drive and to build awareness of what it means to be homeless.  The Common Cathedral staff members that we worked with are homeless Christians who worship together at outdoor masses on Boston Common. We arrived about 7 PM on Friday night and checked-in, along with students from UMASS Amherst, Keene State College, and Boston University.  This two-day program allowed us a chance to get to know each other, as well as many of the homeless staff members that served as our guides.  From the moment we arrived, the staff members thoroughly enjoyed making conversation with us.  Talking with any of these people melts away common misconceptions about the homeless that many of us tend to harbor.  These homeless men are all highly intelligent and outgoing. They told us one thing in particular that I know I won’t ever forget: The best thing you can give to a homeless person is your time; time to talk, time to listen.   

 

On Friday night, a UMASS professor, who teaches a course on homelessness, was our guest speaker, and each of the homeless Common Cathedral staff members shared with us a little bit about their lives.  That night we broke into small groups and the staff members took us on a tour of Boston to see where the city’s homeless often go to eat, sleep, and spend time with friends.  When we returned to the church, we closed by singing and praying together. After rising early and having breakfast we formed committees to either make sandwiches or sort donated clothing.  With all of the support and coordination, everything got done quickly.  From 10 AM to 1 PM we handed out food and clothing in the basement of the church. The warm clothes went fast and people were very grateful for their sandwiches. Some of us walked the streets of Boston, handing out sandwiches to those homeless who did not attend the drive. Afterwards, we cleaned =up the basement of the church, and heard a second guest speaker. We then got into groups and discussed the issue of homelessness and about what we learned that weekend.

            I think we were all amazed and touched by the Common Cathedral Staff.  Not only were these homeless men willing to share with us their stories and details about their lifestyles, but also the strength of their faith in God, despite hardships.  One particularly religious man referred to bibles as “God’s cellphones.” This same man offered me his jacket later that day when I was cold outside. This is someone who has almost nothing, offering me the one extra thing that he had on his back. This experience was a very rich and humbling one. We left with a greater awareness of homelessness and what it entails, along with a new way of seeing the homeless.  After actually getting to know some of the homeless, it will undoubtedly become personal and something very near to your heart.

boston2.jpg

boston1.jpg