Over 220 community volunteers support the Family Support Center’s mission “Working Together to Strengthen All Families”. We thank you for your service and generosity. We appreciate you!

Current volunteers click here for access to Volgistics for scheduling.

Summer 2019 Volunteer Spotlight:

Brenda Grall

Excerpt from the Senior News article, "Be Part of the Solution" by Jennifer Thompson

According to the 2016 ALICE Report, for Thurston County, 11% of residents live below the poverty threshold, but 25% of households are ALICE. In Lewis County, 14% of residents live below the poverty threshold, but an additional 33% are ALICE who live above the poverty line, yet are unable to afford the necessities consistently. In Mason County, the rate edges even higher.

With continued rising costs and wages remaining flat, one unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge, perhaps face eviction, which can lead to unstable housing or becoming homeless. Raising a family without shelter or necessities is a dire reality many are facing. For a child to thrive, safety and stability are imperative.

Family Support Center operates Pear Blossom Place, Thurston County's largest 24-hour emergency shelter for homeless families. This facility was created for families to have a  warm and safe place to live and thrive while they work to get back on their feet.

Brenda Grall volunteers as a Greeter at Pear Blossom Place. At first, Brenda was apprehensive about working with folks experiencing homelessness. Her awareness of homelessness has shifted since volunteering. A volunteer for over a year, she has found her experience working at the shelter beyond gratifying. “You can't expect change unless you're willing to put the time in” Brenda says. “It can be as big or as little as your heart wants it to be. Make a difference. Put your bias aside”, she says. Volunteering has helped her feel more connected to the realities our neighbors face right here in our community. In her work, she has met a great group of volunteers who share the same mindset. “We're each a speck of sand—we all add our own story and magic to the two hours we spend here.”

Brenda's favorite part of being a Greeter is interacting with the many children and being a comfort to the parents by being a positive presence in their lives. She knows she's helping others, but feels almost selfish; because she has gained from this experience too. Brenda shared that she now has a greater awareness, empathy and understanding around the relevance of the root causes of homelessness.

She urges others to get involved. “Any human being can give. Don't just complain about the problem. Do something about it. Just show up!” she says. “If anyone thinks they need a background in this work—all you need is a pulse and compassion.”

Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Family Shelter needs volunteer Greeters and Overnight Hosts. Hosts are scheduled with a second host and have access to a 24 Hour back up support staff person. In speaking with Ed Dee, a long time Pear Blossom Overnight Shelter Host, he said how much he enjoys getting to know the families and supporting them through this life transition. One night he received a call from a mother who was living in her car with her two kids in a Walmart parking lot. That next week when he came in she was at the shelter. He added that another time he had to call 9-1-1 because a new mother had gone into labor. While most nights are routine, the quality training provided and back-up support, easily equip a volunteer to respond to any issue that may arise.

If you'd like to be part of the solution to a very relevant issue we face in our community, volunteer as a Greeter or Overnight Host at Family Support Center's Pear Blossom Place. Contact Tara Jackson at 360-754-9297 x 204 or email her at taraj@fscss.org for more information.