The Interfaith Clothing Center is a beehive of activity onÂ a Saturday morning. With so many people intersectingÂ for different reasons, it can provide a window into the many lives touched by our work: those who need help andÂ those who provide it.
On a recent Saturday, our Director of Family ServicesÂ Monica Barberisâ€‘Youngwas at the center, helpingÂ individuals and families shop while also helping trainÂ volunteers from a church youth group. She met a youngÂ man from Guatemala. Actually, he isnÊ¹t a man. He is 14 â€‘ just a child. He told herÂ his story: making a dangerous 24â€‘day journey along with a young nephewÂ across many miles, seeking safety and a better way of life. He now is living withÂ his older sister, and he came to the ICC for clothing and help.
Not far away from him at the ICC was another teenager, a volunteer about theÂ same age as the boy. She came for a different reason â€‘ to make a difference.Â When Monica showed the youth group around, the young girlÊ¹s eyes filled withÂ tears. Why so sad? Monica asked. The girl hesitated. Then she quietly said, ÊºI seeÂ the lady who cleans my house shopping here.Êº Talk about teachable moments.
While the folks who line up to shop for free at the ICC may seem invisible or, forÂ those like the young man of uncertain status, may want to be invisible at times,Â these shoppers are part of our community. That is what our young volunteerÂ discovered, and we must never forget. They are hardâ€‘working people who makeÂ up the varied fabric of our county, and come to us because, at this point in theirÂ lives, they find they cannot survive without help.
Our doors are open to them, as they are to the men and women living on theÂ streets who come to our Community Vision facility in Silver Spring for safetyÂ when arctic winds blow, and to the laidâ€‘off moms and dads who come to us forÂ emergency help fearing their families will be evicted.
And they are are open to you. Whether you need help or want to offer it, please walk through our doors any time. We will be happy to see you.