Empathy and encouragement: how this volunteer is helping change lives

Sometimes, your fervor for a cause is what brings someone else on board. That’s the way it was for Linda Moore. 

Retired from General Motors, Linda enjoys tending to her garden and spending time with her sons and their families.

But she’s also connected to a cause that matters a lot to her.

Currently serving as a team leader in StreetWise’s warehouse, Linda began volunteering because of the dedication of her friends Jean and Arthur Hughes. They’ve been involved at StreetWise for many years and invited her to get involved, too. 

“When I was in a small group with the Hughes, Arthur was always asking us to volunteer – he had such a love for StreetWise,” Linda said. “I had a few other friends from that same small group that volunteered, so one day, I joined them.”

This was before StreetWise relocated to its current location on Cedars Road.

“I started out loading wagons and grocery carts,” she said, “When we moved to the new building, I packed the bakery bags, then the cereal boxes, and then the meat boxes. When Charlene became our warehouse manager in May, I moved to the warehouse to assist her. 

“I love working with Charlene and all the other warehouse people. We’re always busy, and it’s both challenging and satisfying to manage all the different products we receive.”

Warehouse work isn’t the most client-facing job at StreetWise. But sometimes Linda gets to come together with other StreetWise volunteers for a particularly exciting assignment.

“[In the warehouse], we work behind the scenes. We don’t always get to meet our clients. But every now and then, we get to help gather items for a client that has a special need, and the whole crew comes together to meet it,” she said. “It’s great to watch the client’s excitement as many people bring the food, clothing and goodies we’ve gathered for them.”

And some experiences stand out more than others.

“We have many extraordinary moments at StreetWise, but once, I remember walking up with a huge chocolate cake and meeting a client. When she saw it, her face just lit up,” she said. “I asked if she’d like to have the cake, and she said it was her daughter’s birthday and it would be perfect for her. I still remember her smile!” 

Executive Director Tracy Joseph serving through Mobile Food Pantry at a Gwinnett County school

Linda has been there throughout StreetWise’s leadership change: from its founders to its current executive director, Tracy Joseph. And in Tracy, Linda sees a visionary leader ready to push StreetWise forward in inspiring new ways. 

“I’m very excited to be part of Tracy’s vision for StreetWise,” Linda said. “I loved participating in giving food boxes to low-income families at local schools. I’m also really looking forward to the teen initiative and all the other youth and teen programs he has planned.”

Between new initiatives and the ongoing, faithful work StreetWise has done for decades, Linda truly believes that StreetWise is a blessing both internally and externally. 

“There are many reasons I love being at StreetWise, but they all revolve around my desire to serve,” Linda said. “Jesus asks us to feed the hungry and serve widows and orphans – to be a part of that is an honor.”

But giving her time isn’t out of a sense of duty; Linda feels a special connection to many of StreetWise’s clients. 

“I raised my sons as a single mother, so every time I pack a bag, load a cart or manage the food coming into the warehouse, I imagine the look on the face of a mom as she sees what she can now bring home to her kids. That’s why I love StreetWise: we serve Jesus and people,” she said.

“I encourage other people to volunteer at StreetWise so they can be a part of making someone’s life better, while working with great people and making good friends. We volunteers really think of ourselves as family, serving and encouraging each other as well as our clients. Who wouldn’t want that?”

StreetWise warehouse volunteer Linda Moore

And that mission of service and encouragement just never gets old. 

“Recently, we had a family come in. Of course they were amazed by receiving the food, but as the mom and dad walked out of the advisor’s office hand in hand, the man stopped, smiled and said ‘Thank you, thank you. We’re so encouraged, we’re so encouraged.’ All in all, that’s why I love volunteering at StreetWise.”