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Transcript: Grandma’s Kindness To Homeless Inspires Church Volunteer


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(Locator: New York, NY)

(Sheila singing in church) “I want Jesus to walk with me.”

Sheila Washington, The Church of the Village, a United Methodist Community: “I’ve been at Church of the Village for a long, long time. I go to church here. I think this place is the best place in the whole world.”

On Sunday mornings, Sheila Washington finds her joy at The Church of the Village, a United Methodist community in New York City. During the week, she fills her soul serving others in the church’s food pantry.

Sheila Washington: “This church we’re about faith, hope and action and love and love. Faith, hope and love in action. The action part is helping our community, the ones that don’t have...the ones that need somebody to talk to, that need a place to stay. And we could be able to be that source for them.”

Church of the Village serves 550 people every week with a sit-down supper on Saturdays and a food pantry that’s open once a week. The ministry started after 9/11, a time of high unemployment, but the need has steadily increased. Volunteers keep the program going.

The Rev. Jeff Wells, The Church of the Village, a United Methodist Community: “We feel very strongly that it’s important to empower and develop lay leadership to help people to discover the gifts within themselves and to offer those up to God and to the community.”

(Sheila singing in church) “I’m gonna let it shine.”

Sheila has experienced homelessness in her life. A passion for serving others, especially through feeding the hungry, is a gift from her grandmother.

Sheila Washington: “When I was younger my grandmother used to always have me go outside and count out how many homeless people was outside and I would count them out and I would come back in and I would tell her, 'Oh, Grandma, it’s six people outside.' And she said, 'Okay, now fix six plates, or five plates and go out there and give it to them. And each time that you see a homeless person, you always help them because you never know you might be in that situation one day and somebody might come and help you the same way.' You got some that sleep on the church steps. So one Sunday morning the guy was sitting there say...he said, 'Um, that sound good in there.' I said, ‘Well, why don’t you go in there?’ He said, ‘I’m scared; I ain’t got....’ And I said, ‘Uh-uh, come on. Let’s go.’ And he went on in. I seen a couple of homeless people that’s from the pantry, they do come to church. It’s a beautiful thing to see them. When you see them Tuesday in the soup kitchen, and then see them Sunday at church, that’s beautiful.”