Volunteer Spotlight-Richard Doyle
If you ask Richard Doyle why he comes to volunteer at the LEC three times a week, he will tell you “I don’t believe in a free ride.” This sums up how he lives his life and why he is a valued volunteer at the LEC. On any client service day you will find Richard here ready to work. Karen Alice, Client Services Director at the LEC says, “Richard is already here when I come in by 8 am.” Arriving before 8 am is harder than it seems since Richard’s main mode of transportation is a bicycle, and his home is the streets. When the LEC reopened in June, Richard was ready to volunteer, but he also needed help because all his belongings were stolen. Since then, he has obtained a new bike and other necessities.
Richard is not only a reliable and diligent volunteer, but he holds a full-time job. He represents many people we serve at the Life Enrichment Center, people who are willing to work hard and are reliable, but because of their past and lack of support, are unable to obtain safe, reliable housing. He, like many others, prefers to live on the streets when living at the homeless shelter is not an option.
Richard first learned about the LEC two years ago through word of mouth at one of the local soup kitchens. He heard that we offered showers and breakfast and decided to check us out. Once at the LEC, he discovered we also had a clothing closet. About a year ago, when our volunteer shower manager was having trouble being consistent, Karen Alice asked Richard if he would be willing to help. Karen says, “he is meticulous with his job, a people person and respectful of boundaries.” Richard said that he knows many of the guys coming in from the streets and offered that “as long as you don’t cause problems, you can come.” His duties include escorting individuals back and forth to the showers, cleaning the shower stalls, washing towels, and giving soap and shampoo to individuals.
Covid-19 has changed practices and ministries at the LEC. Richard mentioned that he has missed his friends and the “old man’s corner” of the
dining room, where they built a family. The aspect of fellowship at the LEC is one missed by many of our guests. When we asked Richard about the greatest need expressed by our guests, he answered, “I get asked about haircuts every day.” He also voiced concern about what breakfast will look like when the weather gets colder.
The LEC is thankful for our volunteers as exemplified by Richard. He always welcomes people with acceptance and a smile. He is the embodiment of exchange charity, and he shows daily that he believes “Everyone has value.” We are blessed to serve and serve with many people similar to Richard.