Why you should volunteer at Simpson House

What is Simpson House anyway? 

Simpson House is a housing service for people experiencing homelessness. It is a shelter located in Minneapolis whose mission is to house, support, and advocate for people experiencing homelessness. This year is the shelter’s 35th anniversary of serving those in need. Holy Family students involved in volunteering at Simpson House gather at Holy Family on SAD days and days we have off of school at around 6 am and travel to the shelter to make those living there a hot breakfast to start their day right.  

What do volunteers do there? 

Upon arrival, students unpack the ingredients and materials brought to begin the cooking process. Typically, there are around 60 people living at the shelter at once, so we make around 60 servings of each of the dishes. Students are assigned jobs like making dozens of pancakes, making scrambled eggs, washing and cutting fruits, getting the sausages ready, setting the buffet line and tables that the residents eat at, and pouring the drinks. Once all the food is ready to go, we set up a sort of buffet table and have servers put a portion of each food option on a resident’s plate and they get their choice of drink.  

Is that all? 

Simpson House isn’t just about getting up early and making breakfast. It’s about setting aside time to reach out and help those in need in our community. It’s about seeing the smile on a resident’s face when they wake up to a hot breakfast laid out before them. It’s about making someone’s day just a little better. It’s about giving someone in need a nutritious meal to help kick start their day for success. Simpson House is about showing you care. 

What’s in it for me? 

Sure, sleep is great and all, but I can safely say that the feeling you get after serving the residents at Simpson House is greater than that of sleeping in. You feel better knowing that you helped make someone’s day just a little brighter. Service is about giving and not expecting anything in return.

How does it affect the shelter? 

While I was at the Shelter this past SAD Day, as we were cleaning up, I had the opportunity to speak to the manager on duty at the time we were volunteering. McAlister Grant said that he had been working at the Shelter for over half a year and loves it. He gave me a better understanding of what us Holy Family students really do, more than just making food.

“Volunteers like you guys who come in on early mornings like this really do more than just serve breakfast. While you are all providing a great meal, uncommon to that that the residents typically receive, you are freeing up time for the faculty and staff like myself to spend one on one time with the residents here and give us the ability to address to the residents on a more personal level. We get the opportunity to speak to them about immediate needs and long term hopes rather than scrambling to complete the everyday tasks like preparing the food, setting it out, doing laundry, cleaning the dishes, etc. It really makes the day go more smoothly than usual for not only the residents but the faculty as well. Volunteers like you all really do make a difference.” 

Volunteering at Simpson House not only counts for Honors Society Hours, but gives you a fun experience and an inside look at how the shelter works. Seeing the smiles of the residents makes your day, and the gratefulness of them is a refreshing experience that reminds you of all that you have to be thankful for. I encourage you all to consider volunteering at Simpson House to experience it for yourself!