Turning Passion into Paycheck: From Volunteer Enthusiast to Nonprofit Insider

She’s been around for a few years, but her journey with StreetWise has changed over time to give her a newer perspective than she had before. Linda Moore first “met” StreetWise through the earnest encouragement of a friend to get involved. 

“I’m an Arthur recruit. We met in a small group from 12Stone,” Linda said, “and he talked about it for probably a year before I finally came around five years ago and started volunteering.”

Linda has worked in the warehouse serving as a team leader, seen StreetWise through a location change, and continued to work alongside StreetWise’s Warehouse Manager Charlene as she came on board last May. But Linda’s responsibilities are different now.

In May of this year, Linda joined the handful of StreetWise staff as Client Services Coordinator, a huge help for the growing Gwinnett organization. Some of Linda’s daily tasks are still behind the scenes, but her day involves much more client interaction than before.

“I manage and organize the appointment sheet. If there’s an issue with a client in person or on the phone, I take care of them. Sometimes I just talk to clients and see how they’re doing. I try to take care of everybody!” she said.

Taking care of others is her job now, but while raising her kids as a single mother, Linda sometimes could have used help herself.

“I was never in a position to need services like StreetWise’s, but I was poor enough to know what it was to want,” she said. “So when I come here and see people in their need, in their want – and we can help alleviate that… That’s the beauty of being here: we offer what God gives us to our clients.”

In true StreetWise fashion, just doing the work yourself isn’t enough – you’ve got to bring a friend along to see for themselves. Because until you’ve seen the need and the solutions StreetWise offers, it’s hard to imagine just how much it means – both to clients and the ones serving them.

“I took a friend of mine on a tour just yesterday, and he now wants to volunteer! When we try to talk to someone about what we do at StreetWise, they have no conception until we bring them in and they have the tour,” Linda said. 

“The enormity of what we do and the depth of what we do is what many people don’t know until you get here. What we have to do for our regular monthly Mobile Food Pantries or even for daily appointments, it’s remarkable.”

Not only is the scope and scale of the food, clothing and other essentials StreetWise gives enormous, but the amount of love is, too. One story stands out in Linda’s mind about the way StreetWise loves to help and the joy it brings her to know she’s making a difference. 

“We once had a client – she was pretty and well dressed – ring the bell. There had been a misunderstanding about her appointment, so I came to talk to her,” Linda said. “In speaking to her, she was just so tender and so raw, but I was so glad that she had the wherewithal and the determination to come and talk to somebody. 

“I came to find out that she’d never been in need before, that it was her first time here and she was scared and overwhelmed about what was going to happen. We brought her in, gave her some water and sat her down. I believe in the healing powers of cookies, so we also got her a cookie. Then I prayed for her while I was talking to her, settled her down and thanked her for being here and for her perseverance.

“We sent her on her way to a client advisor, and as I was going back to the room later, I saw her sitting, and she was talking to one of the counselors. I went in and hugged her, and she was all smiles. She said, ‘Everybody here has been so wonderful, and this has been such a good experience for me.’ I think I’ll always remember her for her tenderness.”

“Sometimes the devil really will try to keep clients away from an appointment, and I’m sure that day he was trying to keep her away from hers. But she took that extra step, and we brought her in.

“Just take a step, and you never know what’ll happen.”

Seeing the life-change StreetWise provides is enough for Linda to dream big on StreetWise’s behalf.

“I want to see StreetWise go more places,” she said. “I just love Tracy’s vision no matter what it is: to have satellite locations, to go further into the community, to enhance what we’re doing now, or to train other people to do what we do.

“Being on staff is a little bit different than being a volunteer, but we are all very dedicated. I love to see – and am excited to be part of – the growth I’m anxiously waiting for here at StreetWise.”