“There are always new men coming in and it is a privilege to meet new people from all walks of life.”
When Kevin Klimchock’s pastor suggested he start volunteering with the Union Mission, he didn’t hesitate. The Union Mission – a United Way-funded agency in Westmoreland County – supports local homeless men transitioning into permanent residency in the community. Come July, Kevin will have spent six years volunteering as a men’s ministry leader.
Twice a month Kevin arrives at the Mission in Latrobe, shares a meal, mingles with the staff, and teaches the men in the supportive housing program a Bible lesson. “I’ve been doing it so long that I can recycle lessons now, but there are always new guys,” Kevin said. “We pray and then we discuss together.”
Kevin does not expect the men in the program to be comfortable opening up right away. “The men get three meals a day, a roof over their heads, and as much discussion as they want,” Kevin said. “Being able to connect with the men and help them as they become self-sufficient is the heart of my volunteerism.”
For Kevin, the most rewarding part of volunteering at the Mission is seeing the impact of his lessons on the men. “It’s really fulfilling to see the guys after they graduate from the program and have them remember you,” Kevin said. “That’s one of the things that makes ministering to people so rewarding.” The very first graduate of the supportive housing program attends Kevin’s church regularly.
People who are struggling with homelessness are often embarrassed and don’t seek the assistance they need. “There is no shame in coming here,” Kevin said. “I’ve met people and I know they are probably smarter than me or have made more money than me, but they might just be down on their luck.”