Andrea Yee volunteered with Don’t Walk By, an annual outreach to serve our neighbors living on the streets, for the first time in February, 2016, and it changed the way she viewed the city she has called home for nine years now.
She says Don’t Walk By gave her a sense of ownership of the city. She was able to talk with her homeless neighbors as just that — neighbors, rather than as strangers.
“Volunteering with Don’t Walk By provided the opportunity, support, and tools to live out Mark 12 where we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to love our neighbor as ourselves,” Andrea, who is a member at Redeemer West Side, said.
She learned that a simple “hello” could make all the difference. That a small interaction can make a bigger impact than you might realize. “Every person is wonderfully and beautifully created and deserves to be recognized and known,” Andrea said.
Throughout the day, Andrea was able to meet other first-time Don’t Walk By volunteers. Together, they talked about the mutual feeling of being called to spend the day serving the city. It was a powerful moment that really drew them together as a team.
“It reminded me of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes,” Andrea said. “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth, they share it.”
Andrea considers serving with Don’t Walk By a highlight of her year, and it has made a lasting impact on how she looks at the city.
“If you consider NYC your home, you need to volunteer with Don’t Walk By just once,” Andrea said. “Also, make sure to wear two pairs of socks!”
Don’t Walk by is an outreach of The Rescue Alliance, a collaboration of faith-based organizations working together to restore the well-being of homeless men, women, and children in New York City.
Every Saturday in February, volunteers will canvas the streets of Manhattan, meeting individuals and inviting them back to an anchor church where they are offered a hot meal, clothing, basic medical care, and an opportunity to connect with holistic residential recovery programs.
Visit hfny.org/dwb for more information and to sign up for one of the four outreaches in February.