While we cannot wait for the day when we can welcome volunteers back to the Village, we are spotlighting some of our incredible Community Builders that give time, talent, and treasure to N Street Village. Meet long-time volunteer and Community Builder, Claire Christian.
Q. How did you get involved with N Street Village?
A. I got involved with N Street Village when I was looking for somewhere to donate some leftover conference swag bag items. It was a long time ago and one of the items was a bunch of prepaid phone cards (remember those?). I tried to think of who could use them and I thought of people experiencing homelessness. I did some Googling and found N Street Village. I saw they had a lot of volunteer opportunities and I signed up for an orientation. I had a regular volunteer gig at my local library starting when I was nine and I really wanted to get back to doing weekly community service. The Village had a great mission and a well-run volunteer program, so I stuck with it!
Q. How long have you been serving the Village community?
A. That is a good question! I think I started in either 2004 or 2005. So about fifteen years. I have been serving breakfast almost every week during that time (unless I am out of town or sick).
Q. Can you share your favorite N Street Village memory?
A. One of my favorite memories is when one of the ladies told me that it was so nice to see my smiling face every week. Up to that point, I always wanted to give the ladies good service and I liked chatting with them if I got the chance, but I honestly never really expected them to pay much attention to me. One of the things we talked about in volunteer orientation is that many of the ladies have a lot going on in their lives. I always thought I was there as a breakfast volunteer mainly to do a job efficiently so people can get their breakfast and get a good start to their day. But when she said that, I realized I was looking at my role in a very limited way. I wasn’t just there to do a job – in a small way, I had become part of a community. I am proud to be a member of the Village community.
Q. What inspired you to become a recurring donor in addition to volunteering your time with N Street Village?
A. Volunteering is really valuable, but I work for a nonprofit myself and I know that fundraising is very stressful. The need for the services N Street Village provides is so great and I felt that being a recurring donor in addition to volunteering was the best way to make sure I was using all my resources to help provide consistent support for my neighbors in need.
Wrapping up this great interview, we have our own favorite memory of Claire at the Village. Director of Vocational Development and Volunteers, Heidi Gauthier shares a special moment she shared with Claire. “For the past few years in September, Claire brings all the ingredients to make pesto and we have a pesto making party with Village residents with the basil we grow in the flagship garden. One year, three residents from the Luther Place Night Shelter came to help. After we finished making pesto, we made a few dishes with the pesto we prepared and enjoyed dinner together. It was an amazing farm to table event filled with comradery and fellowship.”
Thank you, Claire, for all the ways you support the women of the Village!