Outside the Shelter Door

Written by Deb Cottin, Chief Development Officer

I was exiting the Soulard Shelter Tuesday headed across the street to my car. A PPCS co-worker and I were wrapping up a morning spent touring our program sites. Two shelter guests, older men, one as tall as the other was short, were standing outside the shelter door on the sidewalk waiting to be let inside for their appointments. 

The taller man in a crisp, clean white T-shirt piped up after we passed him, causing us to look back and slow our pace.  

“This place is great! I’ve been here only a month, and I’m already about to move into an apartment.” 

We stopped walking. “Really? That’s wonderful!” I said. He nodded happily. The shorter man nodded and said, “If you are willing to do the work to change things, this place is the best. They are right there with you, ready to work with you, do whatever they can.” 

As I got in my car, I thought to myself, “Here they are, staying at a shelter, and they are spontaneously telling strangers how good things are going.” Did they know who I was? I considered that, but I don’t see how. I felt something it took me a minute to identify. It was wonder. Gratitude. Joy. All mixed together.