Reflections on the Season

Christmas is a special time at St. Francis House. Let’s take a moment to hear the reflections of staff, Veterans, and volunteers about this Christmas season.

“It’s so nice to see that people really care. All the different groups who brought food and gifts. I got a really nice wool coat, jeans, a shirt….for many of us, the only family we have right now is here.” Kevin Sissin, Veteran

“I helped wrap gifts, pack food boxes and donated gifts. St. Francis House has really opened my eyes. It’s not always comfortable or easy for people. I’ve realized how blessed I’ve been. I work with Veterans looking for work, and I’m impressed by how excited they are about working and how much they want to work. We’ve had several find jobs over the holidays, and I think that was the best Christmas present.” Carol Chastain, staff member Veterans Re-Integration program

“Lots of good food and warm clothes and decorations- It was Christmas like Christmas is supposed to be.” Tommy Mark, Veteran
“The meals were wonderful and all the organizations who came in to feed us and bring gifts… the people were really nice.” Gary Hardin, Veteran

“I love Christmas at St. Francis House. It’s best when we have kids staying here, knowing they’re not on the street or in an unsafe living situation. We’re their safe place; they feel protected. I’m impressed every year with the overwhelming support by the community, and it seems to grow every year. Some of the Veterans that have been around awhile have even noticed. They see it grow and have commented on how they feel like there’s more focus and support for Veterans. One of the guys told me that he can see somebody cares and he doesn’t even know them.” Mike, staff member Veterans’ Re-Entry program

“I’ve felt good ever since I came to St. Francis House. My heart was hard, but seeing all the churches, people were so real about what they were doing. It’s like I was meant to be here. I haven’t had a real Christmas in thirty years; it was breathtaking. I don’t think I knew people like this existed. I’m leaving in a few days, and I hate to leave. I hope I can give back here someday because it’s been so good to me.” Charles Lewis, Veteran

“Christmas is always a lot of work. I was very busy getting supplies, getting things ready. I like knowing we help provide for families that can’t really afford much Christmas. It must be hard if you’re a kid and see other people having a good Christmas. I don’t want anyone feeling left out. I want everybody to have something.” Roland Jones, staff member, Social services

“Christmas was lovely. I got to see how generous the world is, not hateful. I hope everyone appreciated it as much as I do. I haven’t had a Christmas like this since ones with my mama.” Lender Wilson, Veteran

“It’s been a good stay at St. Francis House, and it’s helped me a lot. I enjoyed all the parties and activities, but my favorite thing was graduating veteran Treatment Court. I graduated with five other Veterans and I’m clean and sober and that makes it the best New Year. “ Christopher Nethercutt, Veteran

“This was my first time to volunteer here, and I volunteered because a friend of mine is on staff. Seeing the clients so happy with their presents gave me a lot of joy. It was really fun working with the staff; they made me feel so welcome and were all so friendly and helpful. Watching them joking and chatting with the regular clients, it was obvious they weren’t just clients, they had a relationship with them. I would definitely do this again!” Connie Couch, volunteer

“I came in Dec. 20th so I was still new. Trying to fit in, be accepted. Christmas was real different; it’s my first Christmas away from home. I’m used to cooking and being involved. It was lonely not being around family, but people welcomed me- I was even given chores!” Johnny Scott, Veteran