Exploring Poverty: Warming House

By Vanessa Hulse

Staff Writer

Percy Brown, a junior theater major, has been volunteering at the Warming House for two years starting when he was a participant in the Farm to Table summer internship. In discussing the idea of poverty and those who live in it, he mentions that many of his views have changed on the situation. He has never been one to “judge” those who live in poverty before, but has been changed in the interactions he has had with the guests there. He also talked about how volunteering at the Warming House has “made him more aware.”
Brown makes a point to mention that “there is a lot more to poverty than people think.” He also talks about how “not everyone has been blessed with the opportunities that we have.” In association with this, some people have a greater difficulty finding a job than others and sometimes that’s how people end up in situations where they need assistance, he said.
When we began to talk about the people at the Warming House, his eyes lit up and he became more animated. “I love the people there, I really do.,” he said.
He also says that working at the Warming House “makes you realize that these are actually nice people. People who have a nice personality, people who have dreams and aspirations just like us.”
Mainly his views on volunteering at the Warming House revolve around the guests that go there. When talking about the community service aspect, he has a unique perspective on the way he approaches it and he sees “it as an opportunity for people to get to know others.”
Brown also said “There’s a benefit to it too, and a lot of people unfortunately don’t see it.”
Brown enjoys the sense of community that he feels when he’s there and that the entire experience is “fun as opposed to a chore.” He opened up and talked about how he bonded with the community there. He goes back to catch up with the guests because “there’s always a story to be told.”
A little later in the interview, Brown talked about how “they have a lot of good stories, they have a lot of wisdom,” especially the older guests.
When he was discussing this, it was clear that he enjoys talking with the guests because of mutual friendships and the ideas that are shared among them.
As a testimony to the fact that he sees the people there as friends, he talked about how the one person who he connected with helped his fitness life and helped him find the motivation to start going to the gym again. He talked about how they give each other advice and proper techniques when it comes to going to the gym. “Taking care of [myself] is one of the lessons I’ve learned from him.” For Brown, this isn’t someone who “needs his help,” it’s someone that he enjoys talking and spending time with.
In a suggestion to anyone thinking of volunteering at the Warming House, Brown mentions that he thinks “more volunteers should take a little more time just to get to know them” because of the community that he has found there.

This is part three of a series.

hulseva13@bonaventure.edu