No one told me to go to the local homeless shelter to volunteer. I simply found that I wanted to give back to my community. I thought that one night of volunteering would make a difference. What no one told me before I started Outreach, was that helping people in my community can become addicting.

Helping the homeless has become a way of life. Volunteering with a local Anti-Human Trafficking Organization, Rescue Innocence, has become my passion, and a way to Pay It Forward. I never thought that two years later, I’d still be involved and doing local outreach on a regular basis. I was the one who thought I couldn’t make a difference. I was the one that thought making a difference was the responsibility of someone else in my neighborhood. I have since found that simple acts of kindness are the way to the heart, and they are now the way to my soul.

When I see a homeless person sitting on a park bench, my compassion arrow goes off the scale. It is extremely enlightening to have a heart-felt conversation with a homeless person and to show them that we care. After all, the person sitting on a park bench, or flying a sign on a corner in my neighborhood, could be my neighbor or friend. After having numerous conversations with the homeless, they do indeed become like friends. You want more than anything to help them succeed and rise up out of homelessness. Most of the homeless in my area have indeed been homeless for quite some time. Watching them rise by simple acts of kindness, caring and helping them to see that there can be a new way of looking at life, is better than any movie you can watch, any video game you can play. There simply is nothing in life that can give you satisfaction like that of helping others!



I’ve had my ups and downs in life, and I’ve been through the “poor me stages” in life, compliments of a bad marriage and divorce. Yet, I still have found a new lease on life through my dedication to helping others. Life takes on a whole new perspective knowing you helped a distraught human being rise up and move into a “forever home”. Nothing is more rewarding then seeing a small child leave a shelter with their mother, and move forward into their very own home. My life has become more enjoyable, more rewarding. We take so much for granted, from having food at our fingertips, to clothing, shoes and a hot shower, for most of the homeless population, these are simple amenities they simply do not have!

Although some homeless are constantly battling addiction, some have gone to rehab and come out to find a life that is fulfilling by helping others. They too want to give back to the community through outreach as well. For some, they may have lost a job, a home and sometime they have even lost their family. Their stories are beyond intriguing, you immediately want to help, and immediately your heart will become overflowing with compassion and love for these genuine human beings! Your soul will be renewed, and those who are homeless will tell you, “Your kindness means everything to them”! I’ve had so many heart felt moments helping others, the list goes on and on.

Making a difference is the legacy I want to leave behind. You will become a “Christ centered person”, after all, Jesus hung out with the broken! You will see the world with a whole new vision, that you too can make a difference! You will literally become a different person.

I’ve had the privilege of watching a homeless couple move into their own apartment after thirteen years on the street. I’ve had the opportunity to bring them to church, to help them find God again.

Some of the homeless in my community now have jobs. Some have found their disability has become their ability, to find hope through a social security check they never thought they could receive. Rescue Innocence has helped them find the correct resources and helped them to secure housing, clothing, and assistance they never knew they were entitled to. After losing jobs to the constant change in our society, some thought they’d never work again, but through a revival of their heart and soul, they too are gaining a place in society once again.

What someone did not tell me before I started outreach, was that I would become a better person. That life would move forward at lightning speed, watching others succeed is the seat of the soul. What someone did not tell me was that I would be sorting donated clothing and helping the homeless keep warm. I would never have believed that I would now be making one hundred peanut butter sandwiches to hand out in a park. That grumbling about making a sandwich before I hurried to work, was now something I thought twice about. I am truly grateful for my home, and the means to make a lunch to take to work. I am grateful that I have a job.

Had someone told me that I would be part of something so big, so monumental in helping others, I would have wanted to do it all the more! The smiles, the handshakes and hugs, and the love that these human beings in my community have, cannot compare to what I would have lost if I had not walked into a homeless shelter two years ago.

To get involved, find a local shelter in your area and get involved. Carry extra warm clothing, hats and gloves in your car and offer them to the homeless on the street. I guarantee your heart will sing and life will become joyful! Paying it Forward can be addicting, be prepared to change your heart and your life!

Sandie Heckman


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