Becky Schmidt is a volunteer at Hendersonville Rescue Mission. The faith-based nonprofit offers several programs addressing issues such as hunger and homelessness.
How long have you been volunteering with Hendersonville Rescue Mission, and what inspired you to do so?
I have been volunteering with Hendersonville Rescue Mission since 2015. Initially, I became involved as Grace Lutheran Church’s social ministry liaison to the Rescue Mission. I had recently retired from full-time employment as director of administrative services at Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe, N.C., and I was ready to immerse myself in volunteer work. The Rescue Mission seemed like a right fit to begin a new chapter in my life.
What have you learned about the individuals you serve?
The homeless come from all walks of life. The men, women and children who have been helped by the Rescue Mission are equipped with the knowledge and coping strategies to deal with life’s struggles and challenges. The Rescue Mission provides them a safe haven, and they are spiritually, emotionally and physically nurtured. It is especially heartwarming to hear the success stories when former residents return to the Mission to express their deep appreciation for the help and encouragement they received.
What has been the greatest reward in the work you do?
I have enjoyed a very fulfilling experience as a front desk volunteer. I interact very easily with people and enjoy getting to know them. My interaction with staff, guests and the public is what I enjoy most about volunteering at the Rescue Mission. The staff is most accommodating and helpful when questions arise, and they run a “tight ship.” They are compassionate, resourceful and dedicated in providing shelter and hope for those less fortunate. They truly embody a servant’s heart.
What advice would you offer those thinking about volunteering?
Be a good listener and ask questions. Become familiar with name recognition. Be compassionate. Respond to comments or questions with a kind word or smile. Shadow a front desk volunteer or help serve a meal. Take a tour of the Rescue Mission and meet the staff. Talk to other volunteers and get their feedback. Treat others as you would have them treat yourself.