What a great last day of the the seventh annual PV Aurora Week…Today we spent our time working at Hesed House helping to get their Christmas Store organized and set up for distribution. The Christmas Store is for current and former Hesed guests to come and shop for gifts, new donated items, for Christmas. Today volunteers set up shelving for the shoes, and clothes and helped to begin the organization of store. It was amazing how much progress was made, but will be amazing to see when it is ready to open and is serving people.
After we left Hesed we decided to make a stop at Oberweis Creamery for an ice cream treat. Do you sense a trend… PVs like ice cream. I guess some things don’t change.
The volunteers were treated to Chicago style pizza for our last meal tonight. Meal time is always such a nice community time and it doesn’t hurt to have tasty food and great company and many laughs.
To wrap up the week we had a closing reflection focused on the times this week when we felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and encouragement from the people we encountered this week. There were so many to choose from.
As we wrap up this week we want to thank the dedicated volunteers for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and volunteer for the week. Most of the volunteers have been faithfully coming for each of the seven years we have had this program. As a HUGE thank you to Bruce and Susan for hosting us this week. We really would not have a program without you!
These wonderful words were on the outside of the kitchen wall at Hesed House where the PVs planned, prepared and served lunch. The volunteers made a great meal of pork loin, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, salad and dessert. It seemed to go over well with guests and when we got to sample at the end, it was delicious!
After we finished up with the meal we headed across the street to the warehouse where donations are sorted and then distributed. We painted a bit, set up shelving units and sorted through some clothes. We will continue with this project tomorrow.
In the morning we were also able to put the finishing touches on the bathroom site from the day before. Only a few tweaks needs to be done to make sure all the plumbing was correct and we were done in time to go join the others in serving at Hesed House.
After we wrapped up in the afternoon we spent some community time together. We first went to Banana Split, an ice cream shop that has been around for more than 30 years and then went to Red Oaks park for a hike along the river.
Because we ate ice cream so late and we are close to ending the week we had leftovers for dinner after putting out cheese, crackers, apples and grapes for munching.
The focus of reflection tonight was on perception, how we enter into situations with perceptions about how it is going to turnout. We shared a perception we came into the week with and how that has changed during the week.
Tomorrow we wrap up the week spending the day at Hesed House. Check in tomorrow for a full report.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – Aftrican Proverb
Today was another great day for the Aurora PVs. We finished up the painting site and the home owners were very happy with the results and are planning on continuing the painting over the weekend. After a PBJ lunch by the river, this crew went to St. Rita’s church in the afternoon to help clean windows and clean the chapel.
The other crew pretty much finished up the bathroom site today and it looks fantastic. They were treated to another wonderful lunch from the family. Tomorrow we need to make a quick stop there to make sure all the sink plumbing is working as it should and we should be done!
While we were all working away today, the crock pot was working away at home cooking a yummy and comforting pot roast for us to share for dinner. For dessert we were treated to a delicious tres leches mocha cake.
With our full bellies, it was time to reflect! Tonight’s reflection was on our motivation to serve and more particular our motivation to become PV Wolunteers and to continue to volunteer. We also shared something from today.
Tonight’s movie selection was The Good Lie, a movie about the Sudanese Lost Boys’ journey from orphans in Sudan to a refuge camp in Kenya to trying to settle in the United States. The movie tied in nicely to our week and our experiences. The quote at the beginning of this post is the quote that ended the movie. It seemed so apropos for the movie and the PV experience.
“The final word is love” is a quote from Dorothy Day and such a basic but important sentiment that we can all follow. Tonight we watch Entertaining Angels, the Dorothy Day Story to be inspired by her words and more importantly her actions in being of service to those in need.
In an attempt to love, we spent the day at sites helping two different families. At one site we were helping an older couple finish up a bathroom that had been left unfinished for a bit. Talk about lots of little jobs! Today the volunteers finished up a part of the tiling that still needed to be done, sanded and mudded the walls in preparation to paint and begun to place the sink cabinet and mirror. The couple were very generous and supplied the lunch for the volunteers and they sat down and ate with them. We will go back tomorrow to finish everything up.
The other site was was working for a refuge family. The family asked if we would help them paint several rooms inside their house. With the great PV crew there today, lots was done. We were changing some wall from a bright green to a light grey and others from a deep purple to a darker grey. It is amazing how much bigger and brighter the house is already looking.
After a hard days work we were looking forward to a good meal. We decided to cook hamburgers out on the grill. They were served with fried potatoes and eggplant all from one of our volunteer’s Iowa garden.
Knowing we were going to be watching the Dorothy Day movie, reflection was inspired by her. We were asked to share something we have observed that is almost too big and overwhelming to wrap our heads around and feel like we can do something to help and then to share something that smaller and we were able to make an impact with, much like Dorothy Day.
Today was a good day to listen. In the morning we went to Mass at St. Rita’s and then were invited to service afterward by the African Refuges that attend St. Rita’s for church. There were people from Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, all of whom came to the area as refugee, some as recently as 3 months ago. Each Sunday after Mass they gather read the readings in their own language and discuss what it means to them. The gathering was translated into both Swahili and Kinyarwanda. It was an honor to be a part of their service and to hear their stories and their reflections.
After the service we went to meet one of the families that we will be working for this week. We will be painting inside their house, so some of the group accompanied the family owner to Home Depot to pick out paint colors. While they were doing that, the rest of the group went to check out our other site for the week. Both sites will be great places to work with great people.
We had a wonderful meal together. Tonight’s menu was tacos and green beans with scrambled eggs. Yes you read that right green beans and scrambled eggs, a delicacy brought to us from Iowa : )
For reflection tonight we watched the movie “The Way” about a man’s pilgrimage on the Camino. One of our Aurora PVs did this pilgrimage last year so he was able to share his own experience. After we did the good ol’ New and Good to talk about our day.
We kicked off the PV Aurora Week helping with Hesed House’s annual fundraiser Hike for Hesed. A dedicated few got up really early to head to the site to help with final setup. There has been so rains over the past few days and part of the planned path was flooded over so the route had to be changed. The PVs were assigned parts out on the trail to help guide and encourage the participants on their walk. It was a lot of fun and ended up being a successful day for Hesed House. A lot of people will be helped with the monies raised.
In the evening we gathered for our commissioning service to officially kick off the week. Following a true community dinner (everyone had a part in chopping) we watched a movie called The Public about a group of homeless that seek out shelter in Cincinnati’s Public Library. We all enjoyed it and highly recommend it. It is available on most digital platforms.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 7th PV Service Week in Aurora, IL outside of Chicago. We are looking forward to a great week of service, community and reflection. If you are joining us we can’t wait to see you. If you aren’t able to be a part of it, please follow along with us each day and send lots of love, prayers and some of that good PV mojo to the volunteers for a fantastic week!