Host and Partner Training Materials
Letter from the Heart
Volunteers. I have had the joy of serving in numerous volunteer organizations and have worked with committed, skilled and compassionate people. But I never before experienced the level of joyful service, loving comradery, or sense of urgency to make a difference in the lives of others as I did as a COFM volunteer serving alongside amazing people. Before joining the COFM staff, I had the privilege of serving as a key leader at Williamsburg Community Chapel for four seasons and a Board Member for three years.
Volunteers are the heart of Community of Faith Mission. They are passionate about serving hurting people and offering the skills they have to that cause. Whether they are: serving faithfully on the Board of Directors; cooking meals; assembling hygiene kits; making endless phone calls; sending hundreds of emails; planning and executing special events; preparing supplies; cleaning facilities; working the check in desk; staying up all night; driving shuttles; counting inventory; driving laundry to and from the jail; loading, unloading or hauling the trailer; giving haircuts and manicures; helping with resumes; producing the newsletter; entertaining; listening; encouraging or praying, COFM volunteers exhibit excellence and love.
True stories. Volunteers work in the shelter until 11:00 PM and then leave to catch some sleep before a 4:00 AM flight for a business trip. Volunteers serve in the shelter on their birthdays because there is nowhere else they would rather be. Volunteers don’t cook for their own families for a week because they are cooking at the shelter every night. Volunteers work shelter hours every morning before heading off to full-time jobs; or go to work all day and then spend all night in the shelter. Volunteers spend holidays in the shelter. Volunteers use vacation days to serve our guests. While caring for elderly parents or young children at home, volunteers make sacrifices for the blessing of serving. When persevering through their own struggles, volunteers make our shelter guests their priority and offer help and hope.
When the shelter season starts in November, our focus will be 100% on our shelter guests and doing everything we can to meet the needs of these brothers and sisters during the most stressful time in their lives. While some pockets of our community still believe there are no people homeless in Williamsburg, we know there are because we know their names, have fellowshipped with them, heard their stories, and experienced our own lives and hearts changed because our paths crossed with theirs. We have celebrated their victories, and felt the heartache of their loss. Soon it will be a blessed time of getting back to the business of loving and serving our guests. Until then, I want you to know that I am 100% thankful for you. I am immensely grateful for everything you have done, and I thank you in advance for all you are about to do.
–Ashley Willis, Executive Director